December 19, 2013
of the best ways of judging the quality and ability of a leader is by
looking at the levels of loyalty they inspire from their staff. Getting
your team to follow you through the good times and even more importantly
the tough times, is the hallmark of a great leader.
And to get
people to follow you when things are not going well you have to make
them want to stay with you on the journey. In other words you need your
staff to be to totally loyal to the cause and to you as individual.
are plenty of people out there who expect and demand loyalty from their
employees at all times. They think that giving someone a job is enough
of a reason to expect them to be completely loyal and totally committed.
true and lasting loyalty is not simply about giving someone a wage and
then demanding they follow you through thick and thin.
The fact is
that loyalty is something that has to be earned and comes as a result
of a relationship that is built up over a long time.
think that you can lead through fear and that all you have to do is tell
an individual to do something without expecting to be questioned in any
way. But to get the very best performance from people you have to have a
mutual understanding and the kind of relationship where you can sit
down and have an honest on open discussion.
Of course in a
business, especially one in the early days of its life, there can only
ever be one boss. In my experience trying to run a company by committee
and as a democracy is always going to end in failure. I have invested in
firms where this was initially the case, and decisions took too long to
be made. There needs to be a clear decision maker - someone at the top
of an organisation who makes the big decisions and takes the ultimate
But as a company grows and expands, then there is a
need for a clearly defined structured and a board of directors. When
you get a situation when you have one individual micro-managing it can
lead to paralysis.
However even as a business grows and the
management team expands it is still important that the person at the
very top commands respect and loyalty.
To do that you have to be
prepared to give something back to your staff. You need to understand
what makes them tick, when they need a word of advice and support and
when they need to be encouraged to do better.
All of us as
individuals like to feel appreciated and like to be told that we are
doing a good job from time to time. Showing empathy and understanding as
a leader does not means that you are a soft touch and it can be the
best way to motivate members of the team.
Great leaders are able to give something back to everyone, no matter what their position is in the hierarchy.