If you’ve been a business owner for any length of time, it’s likely you have some comprehension of the tremendous benefits loyal team members bring to you and your customers. You might also understand the detrimental effects a lack of loyalty can have on the success of your business and your overall happiness.
Loyalty and trust go hand-in-hand. Anytime trust between you and a team member is broken, the loyalty that existed is damaged. Once damaged, it can be a lengthy process to rebuild it, if it’s even possible. As the leader of your company, team member loyalty begins and ends with you. The wisest choice is to build trust and loyalty from the outset and continually work to strengthen them over time.
Anytime a person is mistreated, their trust for that person or organization is weakened. Examples of this include speaking in a derogatory or condescending manner, demeaning or humiliating a team member, blaming them for something they didn’t do, not recognizing solid effort and failing to appreciate quality work. If these actions go on repeatedly, trust and loyalty will be destroyed. To see what I mean, think of the times you’ve been mistreated, remember how you felt and how it damaged the trust and loyalty you once had.
Lying to a team member and breaking your promises to them is another way to weaken their loyalty to you. Obviously, lying to someone doesn’t foster trust. Doing so demonstrates you can’t be trusted. If you make promises you don’t 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 or leave your company.
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 creates mistrust and disloyalty. People don’t typically respond well to being used.
When you treat people with dignity and respect — as the human beings they are and not merely cogs in the wheel of your business — trust and loyalty is nurtured, grown and developed. Your team members want to be treated fairly, just as you do. And when they are, they will give this same respect back to you, often 10-fold.
Creating a friendly and supportive work environment strengthens 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 and will work to preserve that which they enjoy. When you value them, your team members will value you and your business to a greater degree.
Impeccability of your word — saying what you mean and meaning what you say — goes a long way in building the trust and loyalty your company needs to always be its best. 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 advance within your business instills trust and loyalty. It demonstrates you believe in them, recognize and appreciate their time and effort and, perhaps most importantly, confirms to them you care. When they know that, they will also care about you and the loyalty between you will be strong.
Without a doubt, trust and loyalty goes both ways. Sometimes you can be the most honest, supportive, fair and opportunity giving business owner, and team members will still take actions that damage or destroy your trust and loyalty in them. However, this is rarely the case when you hire effectively and instill these things in them first. Letting those team members go who don’t lend themselves to trust and loyalty is always a wise decision.
When you lead from a place that fosters trust and loyalty in your people, your top talent will return the favor to you, usually at an even higher level. In the end, there’s a great benefit to you, your customers and your team members when mutual trust and loyalty are a top priority.