The Dangers of Workplace Loyalty

In June 2019 I wrote an article, ‘Barking up the wrong tree’, all about leadership and loyalty. As you enjoyed seeing my dog I thought I’d show you her latest lockdown hairdo – her loyalty hasn’t changed much; she still favours my wife!

“In a world where remote working is more and more on the rise, I say loyalty and trust are more important than ever”

22 months and a pandemic later, this is a topic that has continually comes up. Is loyalty in the workplace as important to everybody as it is me? Is it misplaced? Do organisations value loyalty? How do organisations reward loyalty?

On one level I would argue that there is no such thing as being “too loyal” as I simply cannot see any downsides; loyalty is the glue that binds individuals into teams and teams into an organisation.

A worker slogging their guts out for an organisation comes from a genuine place, a motivation they have to just do their best. It’s about the values they hold, the pride they feel when doing a good job, the relationships with customers, a purpose, a challenge, to simply achieve.

However, sometimes it does go too far. It goes too far when organisations forget that individuals work both for the company, and themselves, when cultures dehumanise, when expectations far outweigh the rewards and when people can’t have a day off without being contacted.

  • Loyalty isn’t about allegiances.
  • Loyalty isn’t about saying what you think your boss needs to hear.
  • Loyalty isn’t about agreeing with everything your organisation does.
  • Loyalty isn’t about working on your day off.
  • Loyalty isn’t about working yourself into the ground.
  • Loyalty isn’t about control.
  • Loyalty isn’t about spinning the worst behaviours into heroism.
  • Loyalty isn’t about tolerating.

The real meaning of loyalty is knowing deep down that through good times and bad, those around you have got your back, because they also know, that you have theirs.

  • Loyalty is about having straight and difficult conversations with an individual.
  • Loyalty is about not agreeing but having a debate and feeling safe to do so.
  • Loyalty is about showing how you as a team member fits with the company future.
  • Loyalty is about disagreeing, but in private.
  • Loyalty is about making sure a team member is looking after themselves.
  • Loyalty is about investing, learning and development and progression and promoting within.
  • Loyalty is about supporting somebody during a difficult time.
  • Loyalty is about rewarding the right behaviours.
  • Loyalty is about fairness and mutual respect.

Bad leaders expect loyalty; It allows them to behave in ways that ultimately create toxic workplace cultures. Good leaders earn loyalty because they inspire principles which mutually benefit everybody.

Don’t fall into the dangers of workplace loyalty!

Take Care,

SFJ.

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