Humble leadership has generated immense research interest. Yet, little is understood regarding why or when leaders may choose to express humility to their followers. Drawing upon self-determination and signaling theories, this conceptual research seeks to explain why some leaders display humble behaviors toward their followers more than other leaders. Needs for relatedness and competence are proposed as antecedents of humble expressions. Leader optimism is proposed as a moderator of this relationship. I contend leaders sustain expressions of humility to signal their values of relatedness and growth to followers and to encourage humble behaviors among them for mutually beneficial outcomes. Optimism is presented as a contingency variable that may explain additional variance in leader expressions of humility. Theoretical and managerial implications are presented as well as directions for future research.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



Included in

Business Commons