Instilling loyalty in your employees, staff or team is a must if you want to be successful over the long term. Just like you, I’ve had my challenges with this over the years. Here are some tips that I’ve put together to help you develop loyalty.
It All Begins With You
Before you start developing loyalty in others, you’re going to have to ask yourself if you’re worth following. Ask yourself… “Why am I worth following?” People want to follow a leader. Someone who is going to help them have a better life. Perhaps you are going to make a difference in the world. Innovation (Steve Jobs of Apple). New Technology (Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google). Social Change (Mohammad Yunus of Grameen Bank). Perhaps you can help them financially. You may be leading a start-up with the potential for the initial core group to become wealthy. As a boss, team leader or project manager it may be the ability to give them a good performance review or assistance in getting a promotion. Why should someone follow you?
Besides helping your team somehow, you also must treat them well. No one wants to follow an ogre. If you don’t know how to genuinely treat people you are going to have a hard time developing loyalty. Here are some things you should be doing to instill loyalty:
- Don’t expect someone to work harder than you
- Be present. Come in early and stay late
- Walk the floor. If your door is closed, your team will be too
- Recognize accomplishments
- Be gracious towards others
- Listen to others AND sometimes accept their ideas
- Smile often and look people in the eye
- Develop their skills
- Compensate them well
- Set expectations, roles, and responsibilities
Your Team members
There are those that want to lead, those that want to follow… and deadwood. To develop loyalty, you are going to have to figure out who your leaders are, who will follow… and who you need to let go. In this case, the outliers are where you need to focus your time. Choose your leadership team carefully. Those who want to lead, should be willing to follow you first. If they won’t follow you, don’t place them in a position of leadership.
As a leader, you must learn to let people go. About 20% of your organization will not follow you, no matter what you do. You need to identify them, and then gently let them go. If there is one thing I’d do differently over my career, it would be to let poor performers go as soon as they’re identified. I’ve rarely turned a poor performer into an outstanding team member even though I have a track record of bringing out the best in people. You have to spend some time on the bottom 20%. Give them a fair and reasonable chance of getting on board, and if they choose to stay ashore, then let your ship leave port without them!
All the best!
All the time!