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The Powerful Influence of Loyalty

“Great leaders may be born for their time, but they trained for their moment” – JSP

In watching the funeral ceremony of our 41st President George Herbert Walker Bush, I took note of how his family, friends, and other dignitaries described him. Words such as loving, friendly, faithful, loyal, courageous and decisive were heard over and over, these are the traditional marks of a leader.

From the White House “George Bush brought to the White House a dedication to traditional American values and a determination to direct them toward making the United States “a kinder and gentler nation.” In his Inaugural Address he pledged in “a moment rich with promise” to use American strength as “a force for good.”” (1)

Great Leaders Inspire and Model Loyalty Loyalty to high values requires the strength of character, this is what great leaders are made of, in all sectors of society, it is those individuals who are loyal to their convictions, families, and organizations that leave an inspiring legacy.

Former NFL Head Coach Vince Lombardi modeled and instilled leadership values in the players on his teams, and he promoted loyalty. Lombardi told his team on the first day of training camp “Only three things should matter to you as a member of this team, God, your family, and the Green Bay Packers, in that order!

Lombardi is speaking about Loyalty to your convictions, your family, and your organization as the priority of your life. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines loyal as: unswerving in allegiance: such as, a: faithful in allegiance to one’s lawful sovereign or government. b: faithful to a private person to whom faithfulness is due. c: faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product.

Former President George H.W. Bush modeled loyalty to God, his family, friends and his country, this requires inner strength. The most successful intergenerational organizations are loyal to their convictions, families, and their organizations. It amazes me how many people disregard loyalty and lament the lack of high achievements in their lives.

It’s reassuring to know that during turbulent times those who espouse such high character qualities as loyalty, truthfulness and courage inspire others to navigate the unpredictability of their times with confidence.

Whatever gifts or talents a person may have, without loyalty they never become great leaders, because loyalty inspires trust, and trust allows leaders to build high-quality teams who accomplish great things together.

Be Loyal to Yourself Being loyal to yourself requires honesty, if you’re not honest with yourself there’s little chance of being honest with anyone else. “To thine own self, be true.” From Shakespeare’s Hamlet applies to all people in every age. We cannot escape the fact that our lifestyle flows like a river from our heart.

Be Loyal to Others The golden rule “treat others in the same manner in which you want to be treated” is a universal law. You cannot give what you do not have, nor can you receive from others what they never receive from you. Loyalty is free and cannot be legislated. Be loyal to others and you’ll see more people being loyal to you.

Understand That Loyalty is For Life A person is known by the friends they keep. Trustworthy friends are keepers. In business you may be in each other’s life for a season, but that bond of loyalty you share will last a lifetime. Former business associates and clients are your best business cards if loyalty is mutually present.

The Scout Law Makes A Good Guide I still remember the Scout Law from my Boy Scout days in the 1960s, it’s worth repeating here. “A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.” Imagine if every Leader whether Governmental, Business, Religious, Judicial, Educational etc… modeled that?

(1) From “The White House” In our upcoming Leadership Bootcamp on January 12th, we will discussing many of the points discussed in this article in further depth.  You can check it out here  Hope to see you there.

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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