University of Sussex
Chan 2024 HRM.pdf (1.03 MB)

An examination of whether and how leader humility enhances leader personal career success

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-13, 14:09 authored by Elsa ChanElsa Chan, David R Hekman, Maw Der Foo

Humble leaders are traditionally thought to create a great deal of human and social capital, yet be overshadowed by self‐promoting rivals for promotions. We propose that through informal career mentoring, humble leaders can improve their organizational status and promotability. We tested our model among a multisource sample of 610 leaders across 18 industries and 21 job functions who participated in a leader development program. Leader humility was reported by the focal leaders' peers, leader mentoring behavior was reported by the focal leaders' direct reports, leader status was reported by the focal leaders' immediate bosses, and leader promotability was reported by the focal leaders' superiors. Results generally confirmed that leader humility predicted leader mentoring behavior, which in turn predicted leader status, and ultimately higher leader promotability ratings. We discuss how our findings extend and enrich the literatures on leader humility and mentoring, showing how humble leaders can ascend organizational hierarchies.


Publication status

  • Published

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  • Published version


Human Resource Management





Department affiliated with

  • Management Publications
  • Business and Management Publications


University of Sussex

Full text available

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Peer reviewed?

  • Yes