Original Research

The influence of emotional intelligence and trust on servant leadership

Marieta du Plessis, Zani Wakelin, Petrus Nel
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 41, No 1 | a1133 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v41i1.1133 | © 2015 Marieta du Plessis, Zani Wakelin, Petrus Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 April 2013 | Published: 03 April 2015

About the author(s)

Marieta du Plessis, University of the Western Cape, Department of Industrial Psychology, South Africa
Zani Wakelin, Industrial Psychologist, Sydney, Australia
Petrus Nel, Department of Industrial Psychology, University of the Free State, South Africa

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Orientation: Constructs were explored from a positive organisational behaviour (POB)paradigm. The aim of POB constructs is to develop and improve employees’ psychological strengths, well-being and performance.

Research purpose: The objective of this research was to investigate the relationships between servant leadership, emotional intelligence and trust in the manager. A model depicting a sequential process of interrelationships amongst the constructs was proposed.

Motivation for the study: Organisations worldwide acknowledge the role that leadership and emotions play in psychological and physical well-being, as well as job performance of employees. Therefore, organisations need valid and workable interventions to assist their employees to function optimally in the work environment. By understanding the sequential relationships between servant leadership, emotional intelligence and trust, suggestions for such interventions were put forward.

Research approach, design and method: Both survey and statistical modelling methodologies were employed to guide the investigation. Standardised questionnaires were used to measure the three different constructs, based on the responses of 154 employees on a composite questionnaire.

Main findings: A high level of reliability was found for all the measurement scales utilised.The results of the structural equation model indicated that emotional intelligence and trust in the manager affected servant leadership.

Practical/managerial implications: Emotional intelligence training should form part of a necessary component in the development of servant leaders. Sufficient time should also be given to aspirant servant leaders to build relationships when coaching and mentoring their subordinates in order to build trust.

Contribution/value-add: The model of sequential relationships between the constructs assists in understanding the antecedents of servant leadership in the work environment.


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