Leadership : Loyalty from Leadership: Holding the Team Together



Tom Krause is an International Motivational Speaker and a professional educator / coach in the Missouri Public School System.

He is author of the book, 'Touching Hearts - Teaching Greatness' - Andrew McMeel Publishing. Contact: www.coachkrause.com

Loyalty – devotion or allegiance to a group, person or cause.  Loyalty is a highly valued character trait desired between employers and employees.  All teams as well as organizations hang together or fall apart because loyalty.  Loyalty, trust and commitment are truly the glue that holds relationships together. How do effective leaders inspire the loyalty of their followers?  Below are three ways they make it happen.

Competence – Who’s In Charge? 

Employees look to their boss for solutions to problems.  At a time when more and more expectations are being dumped in the lap of public education, frustration felt by school district faculty and staff members increase.  When this happens employees look to their boss for answers.  While this may seem like an unrealistic expectation for the superintendent to have all the solutions, it is human nature that the followers look to the leader for help.  If help is not provided concerns of the leader’s ineffectiveness add to the employee’s frustration and loss of loyalty occurs.  In order to calm the masses the leader must convey the message that even though this is a problem now, steps are being taken to find ways to solve the problem.  Simply ignoring a problem leads to dissatisfaction.  Incompetence ignores reality. The steady hand of experience is extremely valuable during these times in being realistic about problems and possible solutions. It is important for the leader to use all resources available to alleviate concerns.  This will restore the confidence and trust in their leadership abilities and foster loyalty. 

Concern – Who’s listening? 

It is very important that a leader be in tuned to the needs of employees. I once sat through a district Superintendent’s welcome back message to district faculty and staff at the beginning of a school year. This well intentioned man went on for an hour about how proud he was of the accomplishments the district has achieved during his tenure. As I looked around the auditorium I saw most employees struggling to stay awake.  When he mentioned the district’s intention of air conditioning elementary school classrooms, a loud applause broke out. After that, the audience basically was more receptive.  While the welfare of the whole district is the concern of the Superintendent, the main concern of most teachers is their classrooms.  If employees feel secure that the boss is aware and concerned of their daily needs they are more inclined to become devoted to the overall district needs as well. If not employees become territorial focusing only on their own needs. Another area a leader should be sensitive about is time. Time stress is a big issue with most people today.  If you ask employees if they would rather have a pay raise or more time off you may be surprised at the result. Feeling overwhelmed because of lack of time to get things done causes enormous stress and leads to burnout. Cutting back on the length of time spent in meetings goes a long way in showing respect for others and their needs.  This respect is repaid with the loyalty of employees who realize a bosses concern for them.

Support – Who’s backing me? 

Absolutely rule #1 when it comes to loyalty - back your people. I learned a long time ago that public statements have personal consequences.  There is a tendency to listen to negative comments about public education. As in any criticism there is probably a little bit of truth in everything you here. The point is not whether you as a leader agree with the negativism you hear – but how you handle it.  I am reminded of a head coach who called a time-out at the end of a game to set up a game winning play. His assistant coach came up with a strategy the head coach felt would work. So the decision was made to go with the assistant’s suggestion.  When the play was run – it completely backfired and the game was lost.  After the game a group of disgruntled fans asked, “Who was responsible for that last play?”  With his assistant at his side, the head coach answered, “Me”.  In that moment the head coach gained the loyalty and respect of not only his assistant but also the players. There comes a time when a leader must take the target off the back of his employees and place it on his own. Mistakes happen. Disagreements can be worked out over time but loyalty can be lost in seconds.  Once a boss loses the respect of his employees trust and commitment suffers.

Ó Copyright Tom Krause, 2006 - All Rights Reserved

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