Humility in Servant Leadership among Christian Student Leaders: A Longitudinal Pilot Study


Social Science

Document Type


Publication Date



The goal of the current research was to examine potential predictors and outcomes of servant leadership among beginning leaders with self-reported and other-reported data. Participants included 29 college student leaders within the Residence Life program of a Christian university who were assessed prior to beginning their leadership positions and six weeks into their leadership roles. Those who responded to the challenges of early leadership with greater interpersonal and intellectual humility displayed more servant leadership and associated characteristics over time. Specifically, variance in humility during the transition into leadership was predictive of more servant leadership, empathic concern, perspective-taking, and kindness toward subordinates six weeks later. These findings offer initial empirical evidence to support the vaster theoretical basis regarding the role of humility in servant leadership. In addition, variance in salience of religious belief during the transition into leadership predicted more interpersonal humility, servant leadership, and kindness to subordinates. This is particularly remarkable given the high levels of religiosity displayed within the sample from the start of the study. This indicates that leaders integrating religion into their lives to a greater extent predicts leader outcomes more so than do religious identification or initial levels of religiosity.

Publication Title

Journal of Psychology and Theology