If You Want Loyalty, EARN It!

Hello friends! It’s been a while since my last post on this blog. For that, I apologize. However, my “vacation” from blogging was necessary so I could complete the work associated with my company’s next initiative that I’ll be announcing a little later on this year.

OK – back to the blog!

Do you know what they call a leader with no followers? Just another guy or gal. I can’t remember when I first heard that but whenever it was, it made an immediate impression on me.  Being a leader isn’t about titles and power. It isn’t about shouting orders at people. It isn’t about treating people as if they are your personal valets.

True leaders understand that in order to be effective and successful, their team members must be committed to the team and must have a deep loyalty to the team’s leader. Otherwise, the team members are just killing time and collecting a paycheck. Productivity suffers as a result and consequently so does profit.

Here are a few ways that leaders can create that commitment and earn the loyalty of those that they manage:

Stand Up – No one respects a wimpy leader. Employees want their leaders to stand up for them when standing up is needed. Great leaders know how to respectfully but persistently state their cases. Great leaders know how to deal with people that hang on to old ways of thinking. They are not afraid to remind “idea-blockers” that they are the experts in their disciplines – not in a boastful manner but in a confident manner. Great leaders also understand that they will not always win. But the efforts undertaken on behalf of the team are sure to be appreciated by the team members.

Reward – If your team does a great job on a particular initiative, give them a significant reward. Shouldn’t the company do that? In an ideal world, yes it should. But we don’t live in an ideal world. Sometimes a leader has to be creative and yes, maybe dig into his or her own pocket to show appreciation for a job well done. No one is suggesting that the leader splits a paycheck with the team. How about taking the team to a nice dinner as a reward? If a leader wants to create loyalty, he or she must praise the team for a job well done. Leaders that do these things will create buzz and momentum that is contagious to other teams in the organization. Perhaps other team leaders will follow suit. Then, the higher-ups will really start to take notice.

Sacrifice – Sometimes it’s necessary for a leader to “fall on the sword” and make sacrifices for the benefit of the team. This is one of the most difficult yet essential things that a leader does. Our natural instinct is to continue the battle. Great leaders are able to overcome the desire to come out on top if being right would mean other people would be hurt or humiliated. Great leaders don’t pass the buck. They don’t blame others for their shortcomings. They don’t cower from taking responsibility for the performance of the team. They take the hit and move on. And the team members notice this. When they do notice, they commit to working harder and smarter so that their leader (whom they respect and appreciate) doesn’t have to take any more heat.

What are some of the ways that you create loyalty and commitment at your organization?

Please share your comments!

 

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This entry was posted in Building Relationships, Leadership, Management, Performance, Productivity. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to If You Want Loyalty, EARN It!

  1. Great article and so true. In past positions I’ve had to fall on the sword and yes, give up my raise so my team could get raises. But when you build loyalty by being a truly good leader (maybe great, but probably not every day), you get carried forward by your team and even in times of difficulty, there is a sense of everyone being in it together, so things are much better than that might be otherwise.

  2. Sean,

    Thanks for sharing your insights (and welcome back to the blogging word–we’ve missed your thoughts!). In addition to the ones you’ve mentioned above, I’d add: “Make it personal.” In other words, establish a personal connection with those you are leading. Whether it’s through kids, sports, or mutual interests, find a way to connect with them. Show them you care about them as an individual. It’s an old adage but true: people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

    Mark

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