Servant Leadership Mastery

Strategies, Stories, and Stimulus for Leading with Respect Along with Results

Chapter 1.

What Do Team Members Want from Their Leader?



If employees do not trust their leaders, they may not respect them. This lack of trust can stem from a variety of factors, such as a history of broken promises, lack of transparency, or inconsistent behavior that produces a lack of direction. This causes chaos due to a lack of clarity, which is a big obstacle to team success. As communication breaks down, relationships become strained, misunderstandings can arise, and employees may become demotivated, reducing productivity and lowering morale. Conflict can arise when people feel they cannot trust each other, leading to tension and a toxic work environment. Ultimately, the lack of trust can harm the organization’s culture and make it challenging to achieve its goals.

The findings of my field studies on Servant Leadership (Pressentin, 2020, 2021, 2022) have shown that TRUST is the number 1 sign of why team members would want to follow a leader. Contemporary organizations are dealing with knowledgeable employees and most are observing the leader’s communication, decision-making styles, and level of care towards them. Is my leader developing me? Does my leader care about me on a personal level? These were the key questions shared with me when I interviewed organizational team members in 8 countries in Asia. Conscious about their aptitude, skills, experiences, and contributions, often their interactions with their leaders provide the ground for the team members to appraise their resonance with their superiors.

Every interaction counts!

TIP: If leaders can foster trust to develop and care for the team members on the personal level during every interaction, respect is created mutually and trust will follow.

The leadership process is a partnership between the leader and team members. Without one of them, there is no leadership happening. Thus, building a trusting relationship between the leader and the team members fosters teamwork, collaboration, and mutual support. Team members are more willing to take a risk and speak out their opinions in support of the greater good of all without the fear of being punished. In times of crisis where trust exists, faster response time, and better collaboration due to easy and more effective communication might happen, while the confidence to delegate increases and improvements are more likely to occur in difficult times supporting a successful outcome in the organization.

Enjoy it!


Dr. Maria Pressentin is a Servant Leadership Strategist, a multi-award-winning behavioral scientist, and a leadership development professional, Maria helps people shift their mindset and apply serving-leader skills to their daily interactions. Her work involves incorporating competencies of servant leadership in organizational functional and strategic roles to build long-term vitality in businesses. Her latest book is titled “Key Factors and Use Cases of Servant Leadership Driving Organizational Performance”, IGI Global, 2021.

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