What the Most Loyal Employees Know About Their Leaders

When someone joins your company, it’s because of its reputation and what it is known for in the marketplace. When that same person decides to leave the organization, it is most likely because of their first-line manager. Loyalty to the leader and the organization is a serious issue when workers are in great demand and job choices are abundant. A recent survey noted that over 80% of workers said they would leave their current position for a better job offer.

Loyalty Must Be Earned

John Wooden wrote, “People do not arrive at your doorstep with loyalty. It comes when those you lead see and experience that your concern for their interests and welfare goes beyond simply calculating what they can do for you—how you can use them to your advantage.”  To inspire loyalty from those you lead, a leader must stop asking, “what have you done for me lately?” and instead inquire: “What can I do to add value to you?”

Give Loyalty to Receive Loyalty

Once you give loyalty, you open the channel to receive it in return. The most loyal employees know and experience loyalty first from their leader. Here is what they know:

  1. Their leader is the real deal – they are authentic; they are true to their values.
  2. Their leader cares about them personally – not just as an employee but also as a person.
  3. Their leader can be trusted – they do what they say they will do.
  4. Their leader adds value to them – they look for ways to help you be successful.
  5. Their leader values them – not just for what you do, but for who you are.
  6. Their leader values their contribution – they let you know why you are relevant to the organization.
  7. Their leader listens – they invest time to hear how you feel and what you think.
  8. Their leader holds them accountable – they want you to win.
  9. Their leader invests in their personal growth – they want you to develop mastery.
  10. Their leader makes them feel safe and welcome – they respect who you are and what you represent.

Do I Have a Future Here?

Each of these ten factors speaks to whether the person you lead feels that they have a future in your organization and with you. This requires the leader to learn what each person on your team hopes for their future. Do they want to be a manager one day, or are they happy to become a subject matter expert serving clients? Not everyone will want to climb the ladder, but everyone wants something. If you know what the future looks like for each team member, you can help them map out the journey, identify gaps to getting there, and develop a plan to close those gaps.

When a leader invests in their people, the people will make a long-term investment in the organization. As John Maxwell says, “Loyalty to the leader reaches its highest peak when the follower has personally grown through the mentorship of the leader.”

Perry Holley is a coach and facilitator with the John Maxwell Company’s Corporate Solutions Group as well as a published author. He has a passion for developing others and seeing people grow into the leaders they were intended to become.