Loyalty is defined as “the quality of being loyal to someone or something” or “a strong feeling of support or allegiance.” Just reading these very basic definitions of loyalty, tells me that I'd love to be a person that has loyal supporters. These definitions are so pretty, clean, and happy; that I'd even like to be loyal to those that I serve. In fact, I am loyal.
However, there is a downside to loyalty. The downside is when we use the loyalty of others to insulate us from reality. Loyalty is a marker of a great team, but it can also serve as the precursor to downfall. The kind of downfall that roots itself in valuing loyalty above all. So what are we do to? We want loyal people to surround us, but we don't want to over value it; loyalty doesn't mean skilled, talented, or gifted.
How do you earn the loyalty of others, without creating an unhealthy space around you?
Cultivate. Cultivate is defined as “trying to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill).” What if we say that loyalty is important, but cultivating loyalty in others is our true goal. This becomes the goal over surrounding ourselves with loyal people.
Here are some ways that I've found to cultivate loyalty in all of those around you:
Follow Through. There are times that we have to be people of our word, and follow through on our promises. Actually, these times should be ALL THE TIME. Be a leader that cultivates loyalty through keeping your promises and following through on your goals.
Always Listen. When you choose to listen, you are opening up doors of influence. When you are a leader that defaults to listening, you become a leader that people can't help but to be loyal to.
Speak at the Right Time. The right word at the wrong time, is the wrong word. It's imperative as a leader that you learn to discern the right times to speak into the situations around you. Maybe it's the right time to confront an issue, or it's the right time to praise an action. Either way, leaders will always stay loyal to the one that speaks with excellent timing.
Loyalty is not a spiritual gift, it's not something that can be demanded (it can, but that isn't loyalty…thats called fear), and it's not something you should even have to mention. Loyalty, is however, something that can be cultivated and grown within the people you lead; and investing in building a loyal team is always worth it.