If this was truly a post about creating more loyalty for your organization it would be done now. That’s because people will never be loyal to a company or an organization. People are loyal to people. They are not loyal to things. Companies and organizations are things.
Some people become “loyal” to a product because it has benefited them in someway. Other people may be “loyal” to a product or service because some famous person they like recommended it. Some of those people feel a sort of kinship with that famous person if they drink the same beer or eat the same food. Seems silly to me but companies don’t use celebrities in their ads for the heck of it.
But Authentic Loyalty requires some emotional attachment and that requires human interaction. The actual definition of loyal is “faithful allegiance.”
Loyalty rarely happens by accident. Loyalty is the result of intentional actions. Earning someone’s loyalty means you’ve taken specific actions to show them you are worthy of another person’s faith…hence the “faithful” reference,
Earning loyalty begins by always doing what you’ve said you would do. When you’ve said you would do it. The foundation of loyalty is built upon trust and reliability. If you skip those, your foundation will collapse at the first sign of trouble.
You must honor every commitment you make to the people you lead. Anything said in confidence must remain confidential. If you tell even one other person, it is no longer “in confidence” and you have broken a trust. Loyalty floats away on the river of broken trust.
Judging people is a part of leading. Leaders need to weigh their people’s strengths and weaknesses to make certain they are placing people in roles where they can excel. Leaders with a loyal following make judgments about their people without being judgmental.
Judging someone is a rational process based on the individual’s performance, both past and present. Being judgmental is rushing to judgment without reason. If you’ve ever said “all” anything or “all” any group then you’ve been judgmental. Because “all” people with tattoos are not the same. “All” republicans and all democrats are not the same. All white people and all black people are not the same. If you want to build loyalty then stop being judgmental and start seeing people for who and what they are.
Since people can only be loyal to people you need to be the real you at all times. You need to walk your talk. You need to admit when you’re wrong. You need to be okay with admitting you don’t know it all. You must give credit where credit is due. You must hold yourself to the same high standards, or higher standards, that you hold everyone else to.
Finally you must understand that you can’t do the heavy lifting of building loyalty while you’re holding a grudge. Let past slights and offensives go. To build the loyalty of your team you will need to accept every apology, even the ones you weren’t actually given. Petty grudges and past grievances, real or imagined, put walls up between you and the people you would lead. Walls that loyalty simply can not penetrate.
Building loyalty amongst the people you lead is not easy. Authentic Leaders work at it because they know absent loyalty they run the risk of disengaged people who do only what’s required of them and never more. Disengaged people have always been around, looking for someone they could be loyal to. The only difference is, these days we call those folks “quiet quitters.”
If you’re in a leadership position and you have quiet quitters in your organization then maybe it’s a loyalty issue. If it is then that’s on you, not on them.
So lead. Lead Authentically. Authentic Leadership doesn’t fix everything but it sure does seem like it does. So lead, LeadToday.