[September 8, 2016] Everyone will tell you that loyalty is one of the most visible and noteworthy of all traits; found not just in humans but also in animals. What makes it so important is that loyalty is necessary for the survival of the species; without it, no individual could depend on others. Despite much talk about bottom-to-top loyalty … top-down loyalty is even more indispensable and less common.
We all know about senior leaders who demand complete loyalty from their subordinates yet never give it back as much as a fraction of their demand. Why? Personal gain is their main concern; something seen in a significant proportion of high ranking military officers. Sadly, there is no way we can control or even influence what these people do but we can determine our own actions.
I think it is necessary oftentimes to experience such an egocentric boss. When we obtain high rank we won’t forget what it was like at the bottom of the leadership chain. Treat everyone – especially your subordinates – with the same loyalty and respect you would have expected and appreciated. The Golden Rule applies just as firmly to the concept of loyalty as it does to any behavior.
Great leaders who remain great do so out of the loyalty of their subordinates. A good test is how they view a leader who has departed the organization. If they speak well, then that leader possessed the trait of top-down loyalty; others appreciate it more than one might expect. Great leaders make top-down loyalty a key component of their organization. From the moment a new person enters that organization they will be trained in the value and consequence of loyalty.
“An army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of bullshit.” – U.S. Army General George S. Patton, Jr.
Those who have been given loyalty will pass it along to others. The heart and soul of teamwork and the central essence of any organization is its loyalty to one another. The military is certainly not the lone organization that values loyalty but all those who come from successful organizations. Organizations are not run on rules and regulations; they are run by those most loyal.
[Don’t forget to “Like” the Leader Maker at our Facebook Page.]