Leaders: If You're Focusing Only on Loyalty, You Might Be Focusing on the Wrong Thing


I was recently at a conference, sharing “session nuggets” with the women at my lunch table. One of the women was telling me about the session she attended - which was about focusing on loyalty versus strictly on metrics.

Not focusing only on metrics - of course. No matter which leadership philosophies we follow, focusing only on numbers without any focus on people is a thing of the (almost distant) past.

But replacing it with a strict focus on loyalty? This also misses the mark.

The definition of loyalty is “faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.”

The problem with this as a leadership philosophy is that it’s about you - the leader. It’s not about your team or your vision or the people you’re trying to serve. It’s not about making sure that your ship is pointed in the right direction. It’s about making sure people like the captain...regardless of where he or she is headed.

For these reasons, if your leadership philosophy is strictly about creating loyalty to you, the leader, it’s short sighted.

And eventually it will fail.

Looking back throughout history, some of of our most devastating moments have been the result of loyalty: loyalty to leaders with wildly misaligned visions. In our current political environment, we see plenty of candidates gaining loyalty. But we must ask, “are they truly demonstrating leadership?”

In the workplace, people want to feel connected to the mission and purpose behind what they’re doing. They want to be part of something greater than themselves. They want to grow and develop and feel as though they are using their strengths each day in their jobs.

By creating companies and cultures that focus on these things, we create loyalty.

Tweet: Loyalty might be the outcome, but it should not be the primary focus.

Loyalty might be the outcome, but it should not be the primary focus.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not about us, the leaders - it’s about the work we do, it’s about why we do it, and it’s about the people we serve.