Using a sample of 114 leaders (described by 516 team members), we show empirically that the association between leader relational transparency and leader receptiveness to relational transparency of team members is indirect (through leader respect) and conditional on leader humility. When a transparent leader expresses humility, he/she conveys respect to team members and is perceived as more receptive to the relational transparency of employees toward him/her. The indirect association between leader relational transparency and leader receptiveness to the relational transparency of team members is negative, however, when the leader is perceived as non-humble. Our paper contributes to discussion about the limits of relational transparency as an indicator of authentic leadership. We suggest that what is often described as relational transparency is no more than unidirectional transparency—from leaders to followers. We conclude that transparency (and authenticity) in leaders is relational only when it is bidirectional.
- Authentic leadership
- Leader receptiveness
- Leader relational transparency
- Team working