Servant Leadership Mastery – 12 PROTECTION

Table of Contents

Servant Leadership Mastery

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

Chapter 12.

What Do Team Members Want from Their Leader?


Servant Leaders PROTECT the team by creating a safe and supportive work environment that enables them to perform at their best and by advocating for their needs and interests within the organization.

Some ways how to protect the team members include:

  1. Having Their Backs – When they make learning mistakes, especially when they are learning something new while giving them opportunities to try and rectify errors.
  2. Provide Resources – Team members need to do their job effectively, including access to training, tools, and support from others. Advocate for the team needs within the organization and work to remove any obstacles or barriers that may be hindering their ability to perform.
  3. Accept Vulnerability – By creating a safe environment to share challenges, doubts, and opinions without reprisal. Mistakes are treated as opportunities for learning and growth.
  4. Provide Support – Both emotional and psychological are needed to support team members during stressful and challenging times. Offer encouragement when team members are struggling and celebrate success when the team achieves milestones.
  5. Shield from Distractions – As well as interruptions that could hinder their ability to focus on their work. Act as a buffer between the team and external stakeholders, protecting the team’s time and attention so they can stay focused on their goals and objectives.
  6. Advocate – For the teams’ needs and interests within the organization, working to ensure the team’s contributions are recognized and valued. Champion their achievements and successes and provide opportunities for the team to develop their skills and advance in their careers.
  7. Manage Up – By buffering any misconceptions and lack of awareness of team members’ performance, even if third parties speak ill of the team member, the leader must be an observant advocate of what is politics and what is factual to safeguard the reputation of the team member at stake and credit them where they deserve in their performance.

My research findings in Asia (Pressentin, 2020, 2021, 2022) show that leaders practicing servant leadership principles tend to protect their team members, generating immense loyalty and respect from their teams. However, team members also mentioned that when the patriarch or matriarch attitudes show up, the leader, although meaning to protect their teams, ends up causing conflict with peering department leaders or even with the leaders they report to, in the name of protecting their teams, above all matters. Silo thinking was tagged to such leaders, at times, when protecting was overdone.

TIP: Often leaders misunderstand protection for over-supervision of the team members’ roles and becoming the patriarch or matriarch of team members. Contemporary organizations are less and less reliant on this type of leadership style, at times, although sensitive to regional and generational appetite. Overall, when the principles of servant leadership of elevating the individual by developing them to succeed, while generating an environment of well-being are the aim and mindset, actions aligned with the two principles mentioned will naturally follow.


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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