#MondayMusing: Loyalty

If you won the lottery, what would you do?

I’ve found that managers ask this question to learn what a person’s passion is. They then listen as the candidate carries on about working with Therapy Horses, or volunteering at their child’s school, and deduce that the response is not adequate for work in their environment. The manager is slyly looking for complete and utter loyalty.

I find it funny when an employer is demanding supposed loyalty from a complete stranger. Interviews are about building trust, selling the environment, looking to match skills, and match opportunity. They are not about Gotcha-Questions, where if the candidate answers wrong, they are not selected. This has all the makings of a Gotcha-Question.

The majority of the people who win large-scale lotteries quit their job. A manager may see someone quit their job due to lottery only once in their lifetime, if at all. It’s not a grounded question, and it leaves too many assumptions. Way too many. 

So, what about loyalty? Loyalty can be a good thing, and it can be overrated, it can be given too early, it may be too hard to earn. It really depends on the environment, the growth of the environment, the skills, the tools used, and a host of other factors. But it’s not given blindly, and nor should it be. 

If you are concerned with loyalty in your candidates, it’s time to turn the tables and look at your environment. If people haven’t been loyal, what is in your environment that causes you to not hire loyal people? Loyalty is a reaction to something, just like lack of loyalty is a reaction. 

I would start by taking inventory on your environment. Are you doing exit interviews? If so, is there a common thread? If so, what is it? Can you redefine the issue to make it positive? Do you need to problem solve, and change something? What needs addressing?

Or can you not put your finger on the common thread, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. I’d start by taking a heartfelt inventory. Pat Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is a great place to start. Have you heard of this? The five dysfunctions are:

•          Absence of trust—unwilling to be vulnerablewithin the group

•          Fear of conflict—seeking artificial harmonyover constructive passionate debate

•          Lack of commitment—feigning buy-in for group decisions creates ambiguitythroughout the organization

•          Avoidance of accountability—ducking the responsibility to call peers on counterproductive behavior which sets low standards

•          Inattention to results—focusing on personal success, status and ego before team success

Do your issues seem to line up with any of these? Then it’s time to be vulnerable and develop a plan to earn loyalty back. The plan will vary according to your immediate needs and long-term goals. 

At the end of the day, loyalty is good if you know what the purpose of the loyalty serves, and you have a plan for it. 

What does loyalty look like in your company? How do you plan for it? The answers to this are just as unique as your business.