Loyalty goes both ways.

As leaders, we want and often expect loyalty from those around us. In fact, many leaders place loyalty among the top attributes that they seek out and reward in others. 

Remember that loyalty is something that is earned, not something you are entitled to. ‎It goes both ways. The best way to engender loyalty in others is to demonstrate that you're loyal to them - that you have their backs and have their best interest in mind. This creates a sense of safety and appreciation that inspires them to respond in kind. You cannot demand or command loyalty in others and expect it to be authentic and sustainable. 

Oftentimes, being loyal means putting yourself on the line for someone, so be sure that your loyalty is true and justified. Additionally, be careful not to place so much emphasis on loyalty that you develop a blind spot to other aspects of a person.  It’s easy to overlook potential issues when you believe someone is loyal.  Strong leaders keep their eyes wide open.

Today, ask yourself: how am I inspiring and earning loyalty in others, and am I keep a balanced perspective about those who are loyal to me?  

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November 2012: Engage in straight-talk.

November brings an election of the 45th U.S. President and the conclusion of a campaign season that tested the best of us. Nowhere is there a better example of the need for straight-talk than in the political arena, where we are forced to fact-check everything that comes out of a candidate’s mouth. 

In this environment of information overload, people crave truth and simplicity – especially from their leaders. Credibility – not spin - is the highest form of influence, and a key way to achieve credibility is to tell it straight. Being honest, forthright and authentic in your communication helps you earn the trust of your colleagues and audiences. And a little trust goes a long way.

Straight-talk means delivering the truth even when it’s bad news. It means admitting our mistakes. It demands us to talk about consequences in very realistic terms. Straight-talk means ditching the jargon and buzzwords and refusing to hide behind qualifiers and hedge words. It calls upon us to be courageous and speak our truth in terms that a high schooler can understand.

Today, give yourself a gut-check.  Are you telling it straight?