Loyalty. The word “loyalty” conjures up many an image in our minds – from the lone soldier risking his own life by carrying his critically injured mate through a warzone to safety, to Lassie the wonder dog never leaving his masters side to, on the flip side, broken loyalty when a life partner walks out the door, never to return.
The word has many a different meaning for all of us, depending on our experience with it. Though, regardless of our experience, all of us would like to be shown loyalty in all its fullness and capacity.
The media of late seems to be full of stories of sportspeople breaking contracts and leaving their club for another who will pay more money, or sporting clubs terminating contracts early with their Head Coaches, Millennial’s change jobs every 2 – 3 years in search of a better offer, Divorce rates are around 1 in 2 marriages, the online world constantly bombards us with a myriad of images, offers and choices and with a click of a button we can try something, or someone, new. It’s so tempting. It’s so easy.
Many of us are so busy doing “important stuff” that society seemingly demands of us, that real and quality time with the important people in our lives is getting squeezed out and the “roots and connections” that past generations laid down are appearing to be a thing of the past, with many of us focussing on our 500+ “friends” online and our greatest demonstration of our loyalty is “liking” their posts.
In the days of past generations, people had to really work and earn what they had – it took time and in the process of waiting and earning, people would form a greater connection and a greater loyalty to things, places and people. Today, we want and demand immediate gratification. It often can mean that if we don’t like what we see straight away or can’t get it immediately, we swipe left and move on. We think it’s cool at the time, but when we’re shown disloyalty, I think it’s leaving us floundering, dissatisfied and scratching our heads wondering as to what exactly is loyalty and how do we get pure, unadulterated loyalty shown to us? If you’re part of a team, are you believing you’re truly all in it together – do or die – or do you have niggling doubts as to your team mates’ commitment, or even yours and so you hold back a little, because often, loyalty has been so watered down, so we’re not exactly sure how loyalty plays out now. Though I know that we’re all craving the real deal.
Family. Loyalty. Integrity. Trust. Unity. These are the values I try my utmost to live by. In my last blog, I spoke about the importance of Family – with family not only being my immediate family and relatives, but those whom I choose to surround myself with in life and business. Today, I’m going to talk about the second value close to my heart – Loyalty.
Loyalty means you are committed to others. No matter what circumstances change. No matter what better offers come along. No matter what others around you do. No. Matter. What.
The success of any family or team is dependent upon the 100% loyalty and commitment of its members. The greater the loyalty, the greater the level of success a team is likely to achieve. Anybody can achieve short term success, but to be great over a long period requires unalloyed devotion to your peers, team and family, and theirs back to you.
Loyalty must not be mistaken for “Blind Loyalty” – when people turn a blind eye to problems or bad behaviour. To really create big success in your life as the Leader, it is not possible without having loyal people you can trust, who will call you out when you need it (as they trust your trust in and loyalty to them), who don’t undermine you and who are sold out to you as the Leader.
British General John Monash (1865 – 1931) once said…
“I don’t care a damn for your loyal service when you think I am right: when I really want it most is when you think I am wrong.”
Are the people you have around you loyal and sold out to you as the Leader?
If not, why not?
Do they call you out when you need it?
Do you allow them to?
A key building block of Loyalty is Trust. Without Trust, there is no Loyalty, as I’m sure you can appreciate. I know that the more I Trust someone, the greater the Loyalty I give them, and vice versa.
Are you trustworthy?
Who trusts you?
Who are you loyal to?
Who aren’t you loyal to?
Who is loyal to you?
Who isn’t loyal to you?
In my experience, you can’t build anything great on your own and, it takes at least 20 years to build anything great, so you can see why Loyalty is the glue to achieving your Vision and your Big Picture. If those you surround yourself with constantly chop and change, you constantly lose momentum, and you can even go backwards while you try and re-build your team and make up lost ground. It’s not a good place to be and that’s why you can never take for granted those who have given you their Loyalty – they are precious! Treasure them. Give your 100% Loyalty to them.
Who do you need to give 100% Loyalty to?
To grow Loyalty also requires your ability to display a consistent and predictable character day in day out, in public and in private. That way, the people you surround yourself with, will always know you can be trusted and depended upon – that you are a person of substance. A substance is something you can touch, taste, feel or smell: it is something real and firm. In the same way, a person of substance has a depth and realness about themselves.
A true story I’ve told a few times, but one that still inspires me to this day is when my mentor, Jim, was coming home from an overseas holiday and while away had bought himself an expensive watch. Instead of just wearing it through Customs, he declared its purchase and paid the fee due. It’s his many examples like these in the private, small moments that he could have thought didn’t matter (though he knew better), that forged our unswerving devotion to him as our leader. He took us to heights I’d never thought I’d reach. That is the power of Character and Substance to drive Loyalty.
Do you display consistent and predictable character, even in the private moments?
Are you dependable?
What do you need to be more real about as the leader?
What do you need to have more depth about when it comes to leading people?
People with Substance can handle being questioned.
When all is said and done, the biggest mistake a leader can make is to deviate from the pathway of honesty and transparency. When they do, it results in a loss of Trust and dilutes Loyalty.
Darren Beadman, was the most successful Australian jockey of his generation. In his book, “In Daylight Ahead: The Darren Beadman Story, he describes a crisis in his own life when he was accused of illegal riding in the mid 1990’s. He goes on to record how on his return to racing (having failed to clear his name despite his protestations of innocence) he went on to win the Melbourne Cup (one of the 3 richest horse races in the world) for the second time. Darren goes on to say in his book that what got him the great rides in the top races was his integrity. People trusted him and were loyal to him despite his brush with the racing authorities. That was because back in the years when he was an apprentice jockey, Beadman stayed true to himself despite attempts by dishonest men to corrupt him. Honesty and transparency are key leadership behaviours to grow loyalty.
What do you have to be honest about?
What do you have to be transparent about?
Every decision impacts your life so choose carefully!
What is the next big decision you have got to get right?
Many leaders and business people believe that it is a case of what they say goes, no matter how they themselves behave. There are so many broken promises which result in a huge loss of trust and a huge loss of loyalty. Giving your word means making promises, and promises are an integral part of business and relationships.
Broken promises = poison to your team and your family.
If you want to grow loyalty, deliver on what you promise as the Leader. You must be a person of your word, at all times. You can’t have people doubting your word, even for a second. You must be dependable in the little things – like remembering to buy your colleague a coffee when you go to the café, to standing by a team member when their performance is under fire, despite their circumstances having nothing to do with you.
What have you promised?
What must you deliver on as the leader to grow Loyalty?
Loyalty. It is a key building block to success, but one that I feel is becoming watered down, unconsciously most of the time. In our society where instant gratification is king and the thinking that “the most important person in the world is me” is prevalent, I believe we are losing touch to what Loyalty actually is. To many, Loyalty is a “commitment” while it suits them – but when we’re at the receiving end of such “Loyalty”, it leaves us flat and questioning everything. I also think it leaves us with a longing for real Loyalty. Real loyalty starts with us. You. And me.
Great leaders lead loyalty.
Let’s all strive to be Leaders of Loyalty:
- Be people of our word.
- Keep our promises.
- Be trustworthy. Be honest. Be transparent – even in the private moments.
- Be consistent. Be predictable.
- Be 100% loyal to those who are loyal to us, even when it hurts or is inconvenient.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article.
I trust my articles can play a part in helping you grow your Leadership strength to live a better life!
I talk further about the importance of values in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”.
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Some other articles I’ve written on this topic (or similar ones) are: