Christa Mason

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Nicolette P Hass


Despite the growing research on humble leadership, views on humility remain mixed and little is known about how humble individuals become leaders. To address this gap, this study examined how expressed humility was related to perceptions of an aspiring leader’s warmth, competence, and leadership potential. It tested a moderated moderated mediation model to assess: (1) if perceived warmth and competence explained the relationship between humility and leadership potential, and (2) if this relationship varied based on an aspiring leader’s perceived dominance and gender. Professionals with hiring experience (N = 187) evaluated male and female leadership candidates who demonstrated different combinations of humble and dominant behaviors. Results indicated no support for moderated moderated mediation relationships. However, exploratory analyses revealed a positive indirect relationship (via perceived warmth) and a positive direct relationship between expressed humility and leadership potential, which were contingent on dominance. When perceived as moderately or highly dominant, aspiring leaders received the most benefit from humility. In these conditions, humbler individuals were seen as having greater leadership potential both directly and indirectly through stronger warmth perceptions. Thus, this study provides a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between humility and leadership potential, along with empirical support for the paradoxical advice of blending humility with agency. Implications for leadership theories, aspiring leaders, and organizations are discussed.


Humility, Leadership potential, Dominance, Warmth, Competence, Gender


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Psychology Commons