Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
LEADERSHIP / AUG. 12, 2014
version 3, draft 3

Building Blocks of Leadership: Loyalty and Friendship

Loyalty is a key aspect of any leader. That doesn’t just mean that the leader is loyal to the team but that the leader inspires loyalty from the team. First, loyalty must be found within the leader, which essentially comes from self-respect. Without respect for your own skills, as a leader, you cannot build loyalty from your team.

Building Loyalty

  • To start, you must give your team a reason to be loyal to you and your goals.
  • Set plans in motion and make them clear.
  • Most of these plans should first involve how you plan to help your individual team members reach their goals.
  • Once they see that you are invested in their success, they will, in turn, invest in your success.
  • A clear plan is required, but it is more important that you build an open relationship with your team in terms of business practices and moving forward within each of your own careers.

Loyalty will not occur without getting to know your team. As they get to know you, you in turn need to get to know them. This helps all of you understand what makes the team work as one cohesive unit. Many managers will have issues understanding why a particular employee needs some extra time off. This may be due to family or personal issues. Without knowledge of the individual, the manager may view this individual as lazy or looking to move from the team. Through building loyalty, getting to know the team, and having a style of communication that makes it open and honest, you will be aware of the issues that could be affecting productivity within your team.

Loyalty Extends to Clients or Customers

From a study found here loyalty programs are the most common way to engage an audience. As you can see from the following information (feel free to read the rest of the study at the link provided) loyalty programs do reward thoughts that are invested in a company.

  • Membership in loyalty programs is growing at a rate of 26.7 percent with 2.65 billion loyalty memberships in the U.S.
  • 84 percent of consumers say they are more likely to visit the website of a retailer with a loyalty program.
  • 70 percent of members feel loyalty programs are part of their relationship with a company.
  • Loyalty programs can increase a brand’s market share by 20 percent.

So in the same way that giving perceived rewards to customers, some of which are savings and some of which are simple bonuses to their purchases, customers are more loyal to a particular company. 

How This Information Translates to Business

In your particular business, this can work in the same way. While the particular rewards will be different, the idea of "buying in" is the same. The rewards you offer will vary based on what your team is looking to obtain. Giving them more responsibility may be all that they desire. It gives them the experience to start moving up within the field and helps them build their resume.

Contests can also do a great deal in helping them become more invested and loyal to you as a leader and your company. Contests consist of a number of different prizes, many of which will need to be approved. The ones that worked for me in the past included a 2 hour lunch break or maybe you will provide lunch for the team (generally on the company’s dime) for reaching a certain goal.

Building Friendship

Friendship is admittedly something that is not something that you can study the results of. Instead, it is something to put into practice and see how well it works for you and your team. Leadership books such as Wooden on Leadership will go into great detail about how it worked based on his own successes as a coach for UCLA, but this is a skill that is built and experienced rather than studied.

Friendship in business is not the same thing as friendship in your personal life. While in my past I have met with my team for dinner and drinks, completely off the clock, because we all liked to spend time together, the seed of that friendship came from mutual respect of each other. We were, in every sense of the word, devoted to seeing our team succeed. That could only come from ensuring that each of us was invested in helping the others succeed. When one member faltered and needed help, we all came to help. We never viewed that individual as a weak link. We saw them as someone that had hit a wall and needed help pushing it down.

Respecting each other and working to build that relationship and maintain it was key to our success as a team. We knew that we did not judge one another so when we needed help we had no issue calling out for that help. That is the business friendship that eventually blossomed into friendships that still last to this day, long after we have moved on to different points in our professional lives.

Loyalty and friendship go hand in hand. Without either, it is difficult to have a team that is willing to work towards goals together. Every time I take up a leadership role, the very first thing I do is get people talking. I don’t give them a direction, per se, I simply ask something along the lines of “What is it that gets you pumped up”, or, “What do you do when you aren’t at work?” This essentially starts a chain of conversation where individuals start to talk more about who they are and get others in the team connecting through shared interests. With that started, the team naturally starts to move together as they know and trust each other. Friendship and loyalty become a natural aspect of the team and that leads to a cohesive group moving towards shared goals.

Image Via: EHDWalls

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