In my previous article I wrote about leadership and the relationship that exists between a leader and those being led. Individuals want to perform a leader’s instructions, not only because it is their job, or that they particularly like the job, or fear repercussions if they fail to carry out the instructions, but rather due to respect for their leader. This develops from a relationship built on trust over time.
This relationship depends on a few other important pillars as well, those being:
Thus, I would like to elaborate in this piece on loyalty, as well as touch on the appropriate responsibility and attitudes of those being led.
To paraphrase Tom Krause, a contributing author for “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series and international educational and motivational speaker: “Loyalty translates to a commitment to a group, person or cause. Loyalty is extremely important between employers and employees. Teams, organizations and countries hang together or fall apart because of loyalty or lack thereof. The foundation of loyalty is built on trust and commitment, which forms the glue that holds relationships together.
“ Effective leaders inspire the loyalty of their followers by making the following happen:
The responsibility rests with the people in charge. Employees look to their boss for solutions on problems. Most of the time the expectation is unrealistic for the boss to have all the answers. However, human nature forces followers to look to the leader for help. Should help not be provided, concerns will arise in terms of the leader’s effectiveness. This leads to employees becoming frustrated. Consequently, a loss of loyalty occurs. A true leader will calm down the employees and assure them that solutions are being sought. On the contrary, ignoring a problem leads to dissatisfaction and shows incompetence. This is where solid experience is very valuable in being realistic about problems and possible solutions. The leader should use all available resources to address concerns. By doing this, it will restore trust and confidence in leadership abilities and foster loyalty.
Are the people in charge listening to their employees? A true leader is always aware of his employees’ needs. Employees become more devoted to the overall company needs, if they feel secure that the boss is aware and concerned of their daily needs. If employees feel insecure they become territorial and focus only on their own needs.
Backing your people is the most important rule when it comes to loyalty. If you as a leader accepted a solution to a problem, suggested by one of your employees, and that solution backfires and causes a bigger problem, a natural reaction might be to blame the employee who made the suggestion. However, there comes a time when a leader must take the spotlight off his employees and place it on himself. Mistakes will happen and disagreements can be worked out over time, but loyalty can be lost in seconds. Trust and commitment of employees suffer, once a boss loses the respect of his employees.
And equally followers also need to foster good relationships with their leaders by adopting these virtues and attitudes as described above. Those being led need to recognise the higher responsibility bestowed on their leader and respect the authority that comes with that added responsibility.
In summary, we all have the potential to be leaders. As leaders we need to foster loyalty by being loyal to our followers and similarly those being led need to maintain their side of this relationship.
Till next time.