Archive for September, 2011

How and why loyalty counts

Posted on September 21, 2011. Filed under: culture, expectations, personal leadership |

It’s been a while and I have a few draft posts waiting – yet this one has come to the lead.  Why?  Well, last week in Australian Football League – not the round ball football – there was a fair bit of media coverage and criticism of one coach in particular who changed teams.  His team had been eliminated from the finals, it was (allegedly) thought he was contracted for next year and suddently we get two announcements.  First that another team’s coach has been sacked.  Secondly, within an hour, news that the first coach is being appointed into the sacked coach’s role.

Can you see how thi slinks to loyalty?

Coach A was seen to have been disloyal (or deceptive) to his team by going to another club despite his contract, he was probably seen as disloyal to fellow coaches as he stepped in while the seat was still warm – in fact I have heard it said that negotiations must have been going on before the sacking which sounds like someone is implying that he was more than disloyal.

There was lots of talk back radio chat about this being what happens when sport becomes business – loyalty goes away to be replaced by money.

I’m not so sure I agree with that.

According to dictionary.com, loyalty is  

1. the state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations.
2. faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.
3. an example or instance of faithfulness, adherence, or the like: a man with fierce loyalties.

My question in a business context is how well we define loyalty and communicate that definition and expectation. 

If an employee works with a company for 5 years, attends skill development activities and is an important part of the team – and then resigns.  Do we question her loyalty? 

Some will.  Why?  I think it is point 2 above where differences really come into play – employers seem to tacitly expect loyalty to the CEO or team leader above all else.  What about an indiidual’s loyalty to their family – the expectation that I do the best I can to provide as best I can for my family – including changing job to reduce my stress/live closer to home/earn mor emoney/have better future career prospects.

Yet that person, let’s call her Madge, considers herself loyal and will be hurt and angry when it is said that she has been disloyal.

If we as business owners and mamagers fail to define what we expect from our employees – on any level including loyalty, performance, work role – how can we realistically expect people to meet our expectations.  If others do not know what is expected of them then their chances of meeting those expectations become more like a lottery and game of chance.

Personally I believe some people are also not quite clear on where their own loyalties lie and so they find themselves making decisions all over the place.  What are you loyal to? What drives and inspires you?  What or who do you put first above all else – I mean really put first?

Loyalty is something I think we all have, it’s just that different people define it differently.  And because it is often unspoken we assume that other people share the same loyalty as us OR that they understand our personal loyalty.

It’s not so and like many expectations, trouble can come from a mis match.

In terms of work (and probably sport) let’s focus on value and delivery.  What is the work that is done.

And by the way, according to Aristotle:

We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.

And

Our actions and behaviours are our morals in conduct

I think sometimes we get loyalty and morals confused – but either way, it is what we do that speaks volumes and not just only what we say.

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