Chiniara and Bentein (201) empirically found that servant leadership indirectly affects task performance; servant leaders provide autonomy and self-reliance, which translates into higher levels of performance from their subordinates. The fruits of this labour are plentiful, say servant leadership advocates. Empowered staff will perform at a high and innovative level. Employees feel more engaged and motivated, which in turn increases organisational retention and reduces turnover costs.
Well-trained and trusted employees continue to develop as future leaders, helping to ensure the long-term viability of the organisation. Servant leaders support lower-level employees and teams. They help them make decisions, take more responsibility and have the skills and tools they need to do their jobs. This means they can respond and adapt quickly when conditions or needs change.
With the rapid development of the service industry, service innovation has gradually become a hot topic in business. How to improve employees' innovative service behaviours has become critical to the survival and success of organisations. Servant leadership, as a leadership style characterised by service to others, is closely related to employees' innovative service behaviours. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to develop a theoretical framework to examine the influence of servant leadership on employees' innovative behaviour, the mediating role of intrinsic motivation and the moderating role of identification with the leader.
This study not only verifies a factor promoting individual innovative servant behaviour from the perspective of leader influence, but also enriches the understanding of the positive influence of servant leadership on employees. The main objective of our study is to explore how servant leadership influences employees' innovative service behaviour. To do so, we test the mediating role of intrinsic motivation and the moderating role of identification with the leader. Our conclusion is that servant leadership is positively related to employees' intrinsic motivation and innovative service behaviour.
Moreover, employees' intrinsic motivation partly mediates the relationship between servant leadership and their innovative service behaviour. Moreover, employees' identification with the leader not only moderates the relationship between servant leadership and their intrinsic motivation, but also moderates the mediating role of intrinsic motivation, such that these two effects are more evident among employees with higher levels of identification with the leader than lower ones. There are also several important practical implications associated with our results. Servant leaders lead through influence rather than authority, and they earn the right to lead through their actions.
Employing the key aspects of servant leadership enables you and your employees to become more engaged in the work and perform at higher and more enduring levels. Often, the best way for leaders to serve employees is to create a low-risk space for them to experiment with their ideas. For example, a servant leader encourages people to use time management, accelerate development and eliminate hassles for customers. Then, a servant leader celebrates when employees try innovative approaches to making improvements.
These small, quick and cheap experiments minimise risk and encourage people to access their knowledge and skills for other areas of their lives. The key is to learn from the success or failure of each experiment. This relies on building influence and authority rather than using control tactics and toxic leadership. H3 suggests that employees' intrinsic motivation will mediate the relationship between servant leadership and their innovative service behaviour.
However, if you see your people as a means to gain glory, wealth and fame for your organisation or your leadership, you are probably not a servant leader. H1 and H2 state that servant leadership is positively related to employees' innovative servant behaviour and intrinsic motivation. Therefore, we add employees' intrinsic motivation to the regression analysis of servant leadership and their innovative servant behaviour to examine the mediating effect of intrinsic motivation. Furthermore, this mediating relationship is conditioned by the moderating role of individual identification with the leader on the path from servant leadership to individual intrinsic motivation.
Barter, who now heads the California-based Servant Leadership Institute, came to the concept by a circuitous route working for companies that did not follow his practices. Only the confidence interval excludes 0, and the moderation of leader identification on the effect of servant leadership on employees' innovative behaviour through intrinsic motivation is significant. Empowering employees with ownership and responsibility accelerates the leadership capacity of individuals. The term was first coined by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970s, when he defined the top 10 characteristics of a servant leader.
We first enter into the regression equation the control variables, servant leadership, then identification with the leader and interaction (which is the cross product of servant leadership and identification with the leader). Employees' identification with the leader moderates the relationship between servant leadership and employees' intrinsic motivation, and this relationship is stronger when employees have a higher level of identification with the leader than when employees have a lower level of identification with the leader. It turns out that the culture built through servant leadership is ideal for an organisation trying to implement Agile or maintain its agility. In addition to the direct effect of servant leadership on employees' innovative service behaviour, there can be a more complex evolutionary process.