Loyalty is a lot like trust – it’s a two way street. You cannot receive either trust or loyalty without giving it – this works for both employees and employers.
I count myself fortunate that I have friends, family members, and followers that share their stories with me. All too often I am told stories of employers that expect to receive their employees’ loyalty without giving any themselves. By the way, loyalty is not continued employment or pay for doing your job (yes I have had people tell me they actually been told by their supervisor they should be grateful for having a job).
Back to the idea that as a person in a leadership position, you are always being watched by those around you. As a supervisor, the way you handle downsizing, terminations and employees who quit are watched particularly closely. If it is handled poorly, it can cause the remaining employees to gossip, worry about their own value, and become less productive. This is not a day or a week of water cooler gossip – this can be an overall feeling of reduced value, reduced motivation, and a serious decrease in motivation and productivity. Don’t think your people don’t talk to each other. In this age of speed and technology that mistake in judgement or maltreatment of one person spreads like wildfire.
I can almost hear someone out there saying “my industry is all or mostly men – they don’t gossip like women”. You are deluding yourself – men are at least as skilled at the transfer of information as women are. In many cases probably better.
One of the best leaders in our recent history is the businessman Ross Perot. Maybe not the man for politics, but if you do some research on him he was a phenomenal leader – in most ways. He was great at recruiting amazing talent, motivating people, trusting, creating loyalty. On the rare occasion that someone chose to leave his organization his leadership failed. He turned his back on those who chose to move on, and never looked back.
If you get the chance to read the book “On The Wings of Eagles” it’s a fantastic read. It’s a true story of how he handled the kidnapping of some of his overseas executives. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5058.On_Wings_of_Eagles by one of my favorite authors Ken Follett.
Besides a thrilling drama it portrays Perot’s leadership, and shortfalls in leadership. We all have them!
Employees – you are worthy of truth, trust, and loyalty.
Employers – you can only receive this from your people if you give it first.