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Elizabeth Krumrei-Mancuso Explores Relationship Between Humility, Servant Leadership, and Follower Satisfaction

August 12, 2021  | 2 min read

Elizabeth J. Krumrei-Mancuso, Seaver College professor of psychology, recently collaborated with Wade C. Rowatt of Baylor University on “Humility in novice leaders: links to servant leadership and followers’ satisfaction with leadership” in The Journal of Positive Psychology. Through two studies, the researchers investigated connections between leader humility, servant leadership, and follower satisfaction.

By examining resident and spiritual life advisors in on-campus housing, examples of novice leaders in a community leadership context, Krumrei-Mancuso assessed leaders’ self-reported expressed humility, intellectual humility, and servant leadership; whether leader humility is associated with leader engagement in servant leadership; and whether leader humility is predictive of followers’ satisfaction with leaders’ performance.

“Humility and intellectual humility have profound implications for people’s personal lives and social interactions,” Mancuso shares. “It was fun to work with Pepperdine’s Housing and Residence Life staff and student leaders on this project to explore the ways in which humility impacts leadership and its outcomes.”

The first study found a positive association between humility and servant leadership; specifically, the strongest predictor of servant leadership was being teachable, an aspect of expressed humility. The second study found that “[although] leader-reported humility was not predictive of followers’ ratings of leaders’ servant leadership, it was predictive of greater satisfaction among followers with their leaders’ performance.”

“The aspects of humility most relevant to leadership outcomes were teachability and being able to appreciate diversity of thought,” the study says. “Thus, these two qualities may be particularly valuable for young community leaders working among peers.”

Liz Mancuso holds a PhD in clinical psychology, and she is licensed as a psychologist in California. She has gained clinical experience at community mental health centers for adults and children and at university counseling centers. She teaches in the areas of psychotherapy, family therapy, advanced research methodology, and psychology of religion. Her research focuses on the topics of psychology and religion (including religious coping and spiritual struggles), virtues (including intellectual humility, gratitude, and forgiveness), and the psychology of prostitution. She has co-authored the monographs Faith from a Positive Psychology Perspective and Women Who Sell Sex: A Review of Psychological Research With Clinical Implications.

To read the full publication, visit The Journal of Positive Psychology.