INSTRUCTIONS: Write a 250-word response to the post below. The reply must make a recommendation of a peer reviewed journal article that provides additional information on the topic. In the response, provide a summary of the article in your own words and discuss why it is relevant to the topic. It must be different than articles referenced. Include an APA formatted citation at the bottom of the reply.
Leadership Humility and Team Performance
Humility is not exactly a word one would associate with General George S. Patton; indeed, the hard charging leader of the Third Army during World War II was often described as abrasive and arrogant by many of his contemporaneous peers. Yet author D. Alan Axelrod (1999) in his study of Patton found that his leadership style was often ahead of its time and multidimensional to include at times a strong sense of humility in an effort to coach and mentor his troops. Leadership humility can often be summarized as a mix of self-awareness, being open to new ideas, and overall keen to accept the strengths other members bring to the team. General Patton certainly possessed it and the literature reviewed effectively demonstrates its effectiveness in organizational management.
The Humble Leader
In their effort to understand how leadership humility applies to overall management effectiveness, Owens & Hekman (2016) chose to exam this character trait and determine if its implementation at the team level leads to possible social contagion which when adopted pushed followers to emulate the leaders behavior and thus impact team level performance. Their findings suggest that leadership humility acts upon a variety of ‘power equalizing behaviors” (Owens & Hekman, 2016, p. 1089), that feed off each other under the group desire of achieving growth. Each member of the team is thus impacted by the humility expressed in their leadership, creating a collective desire to accept others strengths and contributions towards creating maximum group performance. Rego et al. (2016) concluded with similar findings in their research paper on leadership humility, indicating that “Feeling valued and respected by their humble leader, team members, both individually and collectively, develop stronger work engagement and higher collective efficacy” (p. 207).
Most of the literature review conducted for this week’s discussion forum points to similar findings, advocating that humility is relevant to leadership and does provide for a positive impact on team performance. Other research studies reviewed seek to quantify the results via underlying application of other variables such as attachment theory in the case of Bharanitharan et al. (2018) or promotion focus by Li et al. (2019). Indeed, none of the literature reviewed advocates a single factor as contributing to the success of leadership humility. It is simply quite often that multiple variables are at play, along with the core personality traits of the team members, in determining overall adoption and final impact on performance.
While most of the literature reviewed sought to actively support leadership humility concepts and adoption, Qin et al. (2020) put forth that while leadership humility was indeed an effective tool in the management of organizations and team level activities, its implementation was not necessarily without potential drawbacks. Drawbacks that the authors indicated are seldom reviewed by the greater pool of literature on the subject. Using attributional theory, how people use information to frame their responses and form a concluding judgment, to assist in determining when leadership humility will have a positive or negative outcome, the authors argue that such management behavior could lead to the adoption of entitlement perspectives by the team members. Rather than bringing out latent strengths for team building, a leader who approaches his team in a humble manner may inadvertently trigger a sense of entitlement by the employees or worse, create an atmosphere of superiority leading to exclusion rather than inclusion.
Indeed, “self-serving attribution is important to understanding the effects of leader humility because when it is high [low], it will likely lead to negative [positive] outcomes of leader humility” (Qin et al., 2020, p. 694). This compliments Bharanitharan et al. (2018) view that the leadership humility process is inherently paradoxical in that both positive and negative effects are possible from the same initial contact with management.
The solution, understanding that while leadership humility may bring about short term results in efficiency and team building, a guarded view should be taken in order to ensure long term sustainability of the management approach and continuation of positive contribution to the organization of the overall efforts in leadership.