Leadership Mistakes

The Leadership Cement that Holds Civilizations and Companies Together?

Bob Bergeth asked:

One leadership trait, above all, holds civilizations and companies together. It is the same trait most admired by humans in dogs. It is why we love dogs. This cement is something missing in most organizations. Leaders who lack this trait may be clever but they do not command the respect of their followers. Companies lacking it are at risk.

Loyalty was the basic virtue of feudalism; capitalism and socialism expelled it from the business world.

Loyalty is better than cleverness because there is neither deceit nor tawdriness in loyalty. It is honest. It is reliable. It is the very salt of human nature.

Take loyalty out of human kind and rot occurs. Leaders that lack loyalty may have great ability, but this person is merely a clever devil, whom no one respects. If you want respect as a leader, you must give loyalty before you will receive it.

Look back in your own memory and see what you owe to loyalty. I can recall several occasions when loyal friends and family literally saved my life. So, very likely, can you.

Loyalty is an everyday, practical business virtue. Loyalty has built organizations up and the lack of it has brought them down.

As a mergers and acquisitions advisor to many companies, I have seen first hand the value of loyalty to a company.

I have seen company executives so despised that when they walk through their plant they neither give nor receive any recognition from their employees. These executives do not make eye contact, recognize or even know the names of their employees. I have seen hate and animosity expressed towards employees. Naturally, employees return this in abundance.

When it comes time to sell their company, founders and owners who do not care about loyalty do not care whether their employees have an opportunity to buy them out via an ESOP.

I have seen how callous and hard leaders can be. I have seen how they do not care whether the new employer retains their employees even if they have been with the company for 20 years.

I have been to other companies and observed the opposite. Here executives openly converse in a friendly and cordial manner with employees calling each by their first name. Treated with affection, employees give it back to their employer. You can see it when employees are comfortable calling their employer by first name.

Many owners that sell their businesses are very concerned that the buyer treats their employees fairly after the sale. Others are indifferent.

Some employers have been to the important events in an employee’s life. This ranges from weddings and funerals to fishing outings and hospital visits. Employees are loyal to this employer. Consequently, employers want to return loyalty. It truly is a beautiful thing to observe.

Without loyalty, employees and employer become slippery, all trying to fool one another. Every one is looking out only for number 1.

I have see executives at war with one another. All down the line there was a general spirit of suspicion, distrust and dislike. How could such companies prosper?

If leaders make themselves sacred llamas, if they hide in an inner office and appear to hate the sight of people, how can there be any loyalty developed by that?

If a manufacturer tells its’ employees that, eventually they will become owners, and then breaks its’ word and sells out to a rival, how can there be any loyalty in that?

If an employer has people who have worked loyally for a company for 20 years, and then gives them nothing for their work, no reward, no diploma, no sort of public praise, how can there be any loyalty for that firm?

When an organization fires you for a minor mistake after you have given years of loyal and faithful service, how can there be any loyalty there?

Are there not some firms that are forever changing their staff? Employees in this case are always coming and going. Why is this? Loyalty is what attaches people to a company.

We know now that employee recruitment and training costs are significant.

We know that an organization, which lacks loyalty from its employees do about half a day’s work every day. They are slackers. They have no enthusiasm and no incentive to put in a full days’ work.

Therefore, you can see that loyalty is necessary. It is, also, profitable. It is just as important as efficiency. If leadership is doing the right thing, then building loyalty is the thing to do.

There must be loyalty, and it must begin at the top. It cannot possibly start of itself among the organization’s regular employees.

You reap what you plant. If you want a crop of loyalty, you must plant the seeds for it to grow.

One of histories greatest business leaders was a most loyal man. He, also, was one of the richest men who ever lived. His name was Andrew Carnegie.

Carnegie never forgot a favor. After he became rich, he put down the names of all the people who had ever been kind to him, and he sent them pensions as long as they lived. Some of his pensioners never knew where the money came from.

The stronger you are, the more you must be loyal. A leader must give honor and praise to every worker who deserves it. Employees of long service must be recognized and given awards too.

An efficiently organized business encourages building and maintaining friendships. How few executives know this! How can there be a championship organization without team play? Moreover, how can there be team play where there is no loyalty and friendship?

The great business organizations recognize the importance of friendship and make provisions in their organization so that it is encouraged.

How can you build and establish loyalty? Executive only dining rooms do not cut it.

Dirty and dingy rest rooms and eating areas do not cut it.

Bigotry does not cut it.

Poorly lit and dirty work areas do not cut it.

The cost for these little niceties is so small and the rewards so great that it reflects poorly on leaders and companies that are so crass that they do not take care of these matters.

Make employees into friends and keep them. Make customers into friends and keep them. Is there any policy more practical than that?

A person’s natural friends are those co-workers within an organization and community! If the leaders of an organization cannot be loyal to them, in Heaven’s name, whom can they possibly be loyal?

Every one who wants to become a leader must gain goodwill from four key constituencies: Employees, customers, bankers and vendors.

Goodwill is worth more than money. It is the most valuable thing in the business world.

People must work together and trust each other. This is a principle of economics often overlooked by our universities.

Loyalty was one fact that refuted the fallacies of communism. How can any sort of civilization be built up on envy, jealousy and treachery?

How can people work together and trust each other if they have been taught to believe in class war?

Is it not true that there are two great opposing forces in the world, the Christ-force and the Judas-force? Love and loyalty is the basis for one while the betrayal of trust is the other. Is not one constructive and the other destructive? Moreover, do not most businesses have these forces at work?

We must develop loyalty by rewarding it and by cultivating it in our business cultures. To this end, the following “LOYALTY CODE” is proffered:

1. Pay all debts of gratitude with thanks and goodwill.

2. Do not believe and do not spread any gossip or scandal about friends.

3. Appreciate your friends’ virtues and forgive their faults.

4. Always, promote the interests of your customers.

5. All those you work with and for, give your best effort.

6. Share any prosperity you enjoy with those whom you employ.

7. Always be a relia
ble friend in time of danger or bereavement.

8. Be loyal and true most of all when others fail.

A LOYAL person will never lack for friends and supporters. Leaders need persons who are loyal to them more than they need oxygen. Can you see why loyalty is so valuable? Can you see why all leaders need this important trait?

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