Keepers trait #4 – Personal and corporate loyalty

You can buy a person’s hands but you can’t buy their heart. The heart is where enthusiasm and loyalty is.

You can’t build a team without team players. Experience teaches that those who are hold a job solely for personal advancement will not be team players. They will, whenever the opportunity presents itself, choose personal gain over group gain.

Now, I am not so naïve as to think every person should be altruistic and self-sacrificing. I am not even inferring such. I am, however, suggesting that there are associates who can balance both personal ambition (not a bad thing) and build your team as well.

Loyalty manifests itself in two dimensions – personal and corporate or organizational.

A personally loyal associate is someone will have your back, not stab you in it. It is a person in whom you can place complete confidence knowing they will do what is right for themselves and right for you.

Here are the characteristics:

First, they are single-minded. They have one objective and that is to further the vision as you have defined it. I am very, very emphatic about the need for all leaders and managers to have a clearly defined vision for their work. They should know in very specific terms what will be the end result of their efforts and the efforts of those they recruit. That vision will compel those who embrace it to see how daily tasks propel the organization toward its ultimate manifestation. I wrote about this earlier here and will launch even deeper into the subject in an up-coming series. The problem is that when those who work with you have a different vision for what should be the results of their work, they cannot support your vision. Do not be uncertain or reticent about promoting your vision. It is the primary responsibility of all leaders. Managers, whose role it is to organize the efforts and activities of their group, have a sub-vision, if you will. They see how their department or group fits into and advances the vision of the entire organization. Remember this:

Two visions = Di-vision and when division exists the chance for destructive in-fighting and mean-spirited competitiveness multiples exponentially.

Second, loyal associates are not sycophants. Because they are demonstrably loyal to you and to your cause (the organization or business), they have earned the right and responsibility to speak up when they question the values being manifest, the decisions being made, and the actions being taken. Do not conclude that I ever suggest the idea of blind loyalty. It is dangerous and foolish to expect it from your associates and employees. Blind loyalty is the demand of tyrants. If someone always agrees with you they are either not thinkers or they lack courage. Truly loyal people are neither.

Third, loyal people remain when all others flee.

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”  J. R. R. TOLKIEN, The Fellowship of the Ring

Oprah Winfrey has observed that  “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”

Loyal associates are enduring associates. They are in if for the long haul, through thick and thin, up and down, good and bad. They possess the quality of faithfulness motivated not by selfish ambition but by strength of character and a resolute heart.

Fourth, loyalty indicates an agreement of values. People choose to associate with you and your organization or company because they respect you and your company’s values.

Fifth, loyalty works two directions. Donald Regan, former Secretary of the Treasury and Chief of Staff to President Reagan, said “You’ve got to give loyalty down, if you want loyalty up.” He couldn’t be more correct. Loyalty is a two way street. To get loyalty you will need to prove your own. Ineffective leaders see their associates as objects, devices to be manipulated in order to advance one’s purposes. Effective leaders see their associates as partners and contributors to the process, enablers of the vision who make fulfillment possible. They do what three things”

Extend your reach.

Multiply your effectiveness.

Divide your work.

(If you know those three before you read them here, it means you’ve been paying attention to my previous posts. Thank you.)

If you expect them to have your back, you’d better have theirs.


Let me end with the quote I began with:

You can buy a person’s hands but you can’t buy their heart. The heart is where enthusiasm and loyalty is.

Loyalty indicates enthusiasm, that intangible source of energy and creativity that makes the entire machine work more efficiently and effectively. You can buy time and effort. You can rent cooperation. You can neither buy nor rent loyalty. It resides within the heart of a character-driven associate.

The previously posted Keeper traits are:

 #1 – Resource-fullness

#2 – Aggressive accountability

#3 – Psychological and emotional security

#5 – Creativity, is the topic of Thursday’s post. See you then.

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