If you have been a business owner for any length of time, you know the tremendous benefits loyal team members bring to you and your customers. You also understand the detrimental effects the lack of loyalty can have on the success of your business. As the leader of your company, team member loyalty begins and ends with you.
Loyalty and trust go hand-in-hand. Anytime trust between you and a team member is broken, the loyalty that existed is damaged to some degree. Once damaged, it can be a lengthy process to rebuild it, if it’s even possible. The wisest choice is to build trust and loyalty from the outset, and continually work to grow them over time.
Anytime a person is mistreated, their trust for the other person is weakened. Examples of this are: speaking in a derogatory or condescending manner, demeaning or humiliating a team member, blaming another for something they did not do and not recognizing solid effort and quality work. If these actions go on repeatedly, trust and loyalty will be destroyed all together. Just think of the ways you have been mistreated, the way you felt, how it damaged your trust of and loyalty to that person and you will see what I mean.
Lying to a team member and breaking your promises to them is another way to negatively impact their loyalty to you. Obviously, lying to someone does not foster trust. Doing so demonstrates that they cannot trust you, which leads to them resenting you. If you make promises that you do not intend to keep, string someone along to get more out of them and never deliver on your word, they will create a mindset against you.
Taking advantage of your people is yet another way to damage and even destroy the professional relationship you share. Repeatedly asking or demanding that a team member put in more and more time, perform additional tasks and go above and beyond without meaningful recognition, verbal appreciation or even financial rewards will create mistrust and disloyalty.
When you treat people with dignity and respect – as the human being they are and not merely a cog in the wheel of your business – trust and loyalty is nurtured, grown and developed. Your team members want to be treated just as fairly as you do, and when they are, they will give this same respect back to you, often ten-fold
Impeccability of your word – saying what you mean and meaning what you say – goes a long way in building the trust and loyalty that your company needs to always be its best. The most effective course of action toward this is to never lie to your team members, and when you make a promise, do everything in your power to keep it. If you can’t, make sure to let them know why so they will understand and see that you did your best.
Providing your team members with opportunity to learn new skills, take on more vital tasks and to advance within your business instills trust and loyalty. It demonstrates that you believe in them, recognize and appreciate their time and effort and, perhaps most importantly, it confirms to them that you care. When they know that, they will also care about you and the loyalty between you will be strong.
Creating a friendly and supportive work environment will strengthen trust and loyalty. When people go to a safe and supported work environment, they become appreciative. They want to be there, give more of themselves willingly and work to preserve that which they value. When you value them, they will value you and your business.
Without a doubt, trust and loyalty goes both ways. Sometimes you can be the most integrity based, supportive, fair and opportunity-giving business owner, and team members will still take actions that break your trust and loyalty in them. However, this is rarely the case when you instill these things in them first. Hiring effectively and letting those team members go who do not lend themselves to trust and loyalty is a wise decision.
In the end, there is a great benefit to you, your customers and your team members when mutual trust is a priority. When you lead from a place that fosters this in your people, your top talent will return the favor to you, usually at an even higher level. Great things happen within companies where the loyalty factor is a team effort.