Issue: 2023-2024


Role that the employees play in the leadership process. Researchers call for leaders to move beyond great man and hero myth views on leadership and implement “bottom-up” leadership style with humble attitude. Organizations therefore should deeply understand the relationship between humble leadership and employee proactive behavior, and utilize the positive influence of humility in leadership to activate employee pro-activity.

Based on previous research, the attachment theory and active motivation mode was the relevant core variables in the study were conceptual defined. Specifically, the core variables in this study included humble leadership, employee proactive behavior, role breadth self-efficacy, affective commitment, positive affect and the perception of authenticity. Secondly, this study explores inductive analysis and empirical examination of the structural dimensions of humble leadership. Finally, this study outlines the relevant theoretical foundations, including attachment theory and active motivation models, and uses these basic theories to construct relevant hypotheses and research models based on the dimensional structure of the scale developed by previous authors. This study explores the relationships and mechanisms between humble leadership and employee proactive behavior using hypothesis and was tested empirically through the questionnaire study, and the questionnaire method was used to test the direct and mediation effects, while testing the boundary conditions. In the questionnaire study, the data were collected by matching superior-subordinates totaling to 290 valid samples were collected, and hierarchical regression analysis and repeated sampling.

The results showed that the humble leadership under the Chinese cultural background is a four-dimensional construct, including four dimensions: approachable, appreciation of others, correct self-cognition and open the door for advice. The empirical results reveal the mechanism and boundary conditions of humble leadership on employees’ active behavior. The specific contents are as follows: (1) humble leadership positively affects employees ‘active behavior; (2) role width self-efficacy, emotional commitment and positive emotions play an intermediary role between humble leaders and employees’ active behavior. Specifically, humble leaders improve the active behavior of employees by improving self-efficacy, emotional commitment and positive emotions; (3) authenticity perception plays a regulating role between humble leadership and role width and self-efficacy and emotional commitment, and plays a mediating role between role width self-efficacy and emotional commitment. However, the moderating role of authenticity perception between humility leadership and positive emotions and between humility leadership influencing employee active behavior through positive emotions are not supported by the data.

Based on the above analysis results and findings, this study provides suggestions for managers to motivate employees’ active behaviors from three aspects, namely, how to transform leadership style, paying attention to proactive motivation mechanism and enhancing the effectiveness of leader behaviors. It is expected to provide theoretical reference and practical guidance for enterprises to enhance the influencing power of leaders and motivate employee proactive behavior.

Keywords: Humble leadership, employee behavior, supervisor-subordinate relation