Yesterday’s blog on organizational health led to an interesting email exchange from a friend of mine. He shared the following quote with me . . . “Loyalty is the lack of a viable alternative.”
Spend some time chewing on that one.
While loyalty can be based on limited options, I would maintain that it shouldn’t be. Loyalty should be linked to genuine relationships.
The question for a leader is how can relationships be fostered in such a way that the alternatives become less attractive?
1. Trust. The absence of trust is a recipe for disaster in any organization. Trust is built by caring more about people than you do about products. The interesting thing is that products and services yield more profits in a team environment than they do in a solo show.
2. Input. If you want to build trust, one of the best things you can do is ask for input from your team members. There is an old saying, “People don’t need to have their way, but they do need to have their way considered.” Your team members are thinking what they are thinking. What good does it do you not to ask and find out for yourself what they are thinking?
3. Affirmation. When a leader affirms his team publicly, he increases the loyalty of his team privately. There is nothing more cancerous than a back room conversation between disgruntled team members. A culture of affirmation will help eliminate criticism and negativity. (Note: If a great culture is present, and people continue to go south, they should be invited to leave the team)
4. Love. An environment of trust, input and affirmation will never exist without love. Why? Because love, at its core, is the absence of fear. An insecure leader is suspicious, closed to others and slow to offer praise. In contrast, one who loves leads with an open mind and thinks about others first.
It has been my experience that people want to be led and they are ready to be loyal. If you will focus on trust, input, affirmation and love, the alternatives will become less attractive.
What other things can a leader do to create genuine loyalty?