Original Research

Personal leadership as an antecedent of servant leadership amongst bank managers in South Africa

Clement Bell, Lia M. Hewitt
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1459 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1459 | © 2021 Clement Bell, Lia M. Hewitt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 August 2020 | Published: 03 May 2021

About the author(s)

Clement Bell, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Lia M. Hewitt, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Many organisations have abandoned their bureaucratic leadership approaches to follow contemporary leadership models such as servant leadership (SL) with the aim to inspire their people to give their best. Personal leadership (PL) is perceived as the fundamental domain of leadership that influences all other facets of leadership.

Research purpose: To explore PL as an antecedent of SL amongst bank managers in South Africa.

Motivation for the study: Previous researchers called for research on the antecedents of SL, and on the concept of PL to be extended to organisational leaders leading themselves.

Research approach/design and methods: A quantitative research approach was adopted. Primary data was collected from 230 South African bank managers. Exploratory factor analysis, Pearson Product-Moment Correlation analysis and Multiple Regression analysis were employed to test the relationship between PL and SL and its associated dimensions.

Main findings: The results indicated that PL has a significant positive effect on SL and four of its associated dimensions, namely emotional healing, wisdom, persuasive mapping and organisational stewardship. Thus, it is concluded that SL behaviours can be cultivated by investing in PL behaviours of organisational leaders.

Practical/managerial implications: Leadership training and development interventions focusing on strengthening SL behaviour must take into consideration personal and professional behaviours and their influence on SL behaviours.

Contribution/value-add: The study provides a local validation of PL and SL measures within the banking sector in South Africa.


Keywords

Servant leader; personal; professional; leadership; development

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