In my workshops, I often hear business owners and leaders lament that “There’s no loyalty these days.” Sometimes they’re referring to their employees. Sometimes it’s vendors or customers. A few times, it’s been a family member.
So is it true?
My answer is no, I don’t think it’s true. I think there’s a lot of loyalty in the world and even more people who WANT to be loyal, but YOU have to be worthy of their loyalty and be loyal to them in return.
Here are some of the most important ways you can earn the loyalty of those around you:
1. Be Trustworthy – in everything you say or do. If you say you’re going to be at a meeting at 3 pm, be there. When you say you’re going to call someone back, do it. If you tell an employee he can have a day off, don’t go back on your word. It only takes a few instances of broken trust for the people in your life to realize they can’t really count on you. So, oftentimes they adjust their behavior to match yours and thus, you can’t count on them either.
2. Be Supportive – I was at dinner with a colleague the other day and he was complaining about some issues in his personal life (ones that I’ve listened to MANY times before.) His openness and candor led me to share something that I was struggling with. I got about 45 seconds of his time before he turned his attention back to his own problems. Support is a two way street. If you want to get it, you have to give it sometimes too.
3. Be Authentic – I pride myself on being basically the same person on stage, in the breakout room, when training, in meetings, and in the community. I am who I am. However, if people sense the person they’re meeting or working with isn’t “real” they’ll have a hard time trusting that person. Take a risk and show people who you really are. Stop wearing your “presenting self” costume of perfection, fearlessness, and tremendous success – especially when it’s not true. People like flawed people, or at minimum, they don’t like people who make them feel bad about themselves and their situations.
4. Stop Running Your Mouth and Start DOING – One of my personal pet peeves of the many committees and organizations I’ve been part of in my adult life, is the number of people who have endless ideas about what “we should be doing,” but they never do anything. They’re all talk. Unless you have a mouse in your pocket, don’t tell us what WE should be doing. Instead, tell us what YOU will be doing, how, and by when!
5. Set the Example – Model the behavior you expect in others. When people see you doing the right thing, it often inspires them to do the same. The bar is only as high as YOU set it.