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Exploring Loyalty with Ethical Leaders

Loyalty is a word that is often used to describe our feelings towards people, groups, or causes.  On Thursday, March 23 a group of ethical leaders gather to explore the topic of loyalty in relation to leadership.  The notes that follow are a brief summary of the rich conversation that took place around the table.  These notes are a synthesis of the notes taken by Jim Kerlin and my own revisions.

Topic: Dimensions of loyalty.

What does loyalty look like?

  • There are different dimensions to loyalty.  When we talk about loyalty, we are often focusing on a particular dimension:  a person; a principle; a cause.
  • One typically can’t be loyal to a cause unless it is on high ground.
  • There needs to be congruence:  when we are serving our customer but not our staff…We can generate a myopic disconnect.
  • Blind loyalty
  • Misplaced loyalty
  • Misguided loyalty
  • Betrayed loyalty

Characteristics of loyalty:

  • If we are truly serving we are not expecting something back for our Loyalty.
  • Loyalty can be based upon conditions and priorities.  There seems to be, however, an inverse relationship between loyalty and its constraints.
  • As humans we seem to have a need for loyalty.
  • There is a guilt that goes with breaking a loyalty.

Personal loyalty:

  • One needs to ask themselves, what are my core values?
  • Our core values reflect our loyalties.  How we spend our time is a reflection of our values.
  • Derek Deprey just wrote a book called SHIFT: Move from Frustrated to Fulfilled.  The first chapter is about identifying your core values.  .
  • While our core values remain fairly durable over time, our priorities may change.  These changes in priorities can result in shifting loyalties towards people, causes, or groups.

Leadership & loyalty:

  • Loyalty is a product of trust and authentic relationships.
  • When leaders share sincere words of recognition and encouragement, it can cement loyalty.
  • High expectations and loyalty are not mutually exclusive.  A leader that expects hard work can still build loyalty.
  • When words and actions are inconsistent, loyalty towards the person, organization, or cause is weakened.
  • Once trust is broken, loyalty is very difficult to re-establish.
  • Conflicting loyalties are often difficult to sort out.
  • Simplest answer:  Be loyal and don’t expect anything in return.  Just serve the people around you.

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Copyright 2017, Dan Lococo.  All rights reserved.
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