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A New Corporate Crisis: Lack of Loyalty

Jeremy Kingsley, Author, “Inspired People Produce Results"
Source: amazon.com

Guest Author Blog by Jeremy Kingsley author of "Inspired People Produce Results - How Great Leaders Use Passion, Purpose, and Principles to Unlock Incredible Growth,"

Lack of loyalty is a serious problem in organizations everywhere today.

No longer do people join a company and devote the rest of their working lives to it. Companies are, of course, not exactly known for offering up thirty or forty years of employment, a gold watch and pension plan.

Times have changed. Businesses appear and disappear at a dizzying pace. So do the jobs they offer. Organizations preoccupied with short-term, bottom line thinking often view their employees as little more than resources to be hired, fired, and manipulated as the need arises. Workers are naturally less happy on the job when they sense little or no loyalty from their employer.

Both sides pay a price for this lack of loyalty. What can you do to avoid this terrifying outcome? Learn from others.

(Read More: Hope Makes Workers More Productive)

A century ago, Ernest Shackleton was one of the most renowned explorers of his time. He was a member of Captain Randolph Scott's Discovery Expedition to the Antarctic in 1901–04 and led the Nimrod Expedition to the Antarctic in 1907–09, when he and three companions marched farther south than any human had ventured before. He was knighted by the king of England for that effort.

Today, however, Shackleton is best known for a failed mission.

(Read More: Corporate Leadership Lessons from Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition )

In January 1915, while trying to be the first to journey across the Antarctica, he and his men aboard the Endurance were trapped in pack ice in the Weddell Sea and forced to abandon the ship. They floated on icebergs and paddled three small lifeboats to reach a remote, deserted island. From there, Shackleton and five men embarked in one of the lifeboats on an eight-hundred-mile voyage through some of the planet's stormiest waters, landing more than two weeks later at South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic. After a rest, Shackleton and two of his men hiked and climbed across treacherous mountains to a whaling station, where Shackleton procured a ship and sailed to rescue his comrades.

Every member of the twenty-eight-man crew returned home safely.

Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capprell, in their book "Shackleton's Way," list eight principles Shackleton applied to forge unity and loyalty among his team. As a leader, Shackleton was ahead of his time. His principles are just as important in today's modern workplace as they were in the Antarctic a hundred years ago:

1. Take the time to observe before acting, especially if you are new to the scene. All changes should be aimed at improvements. Don't make changes just for the sake of leaving your mark.

2. Always keep the door open to your staff members, and be generous with information that affects them. Well-informed employees are more eager and better prepared to participate.

3. Establish order and routine on the job so all workers know where they stand and what is expected of them. The discipline makes the staff feel they're in capable hands.

4. Break down traditional hierarchies and cliques by training workers to do a number of jobs, from the menial to the challenging.

5. Where possible, have employees work together on certain tasks. It builds trust and respect and even friendship.

6. Be fair and impartial in meting out compensations, workloads, and punishments. Imbalances make everyone feel uncomfortable, even the favored.

7. Lead by example. Chip in sometimes to help with the work you're having others do. It gives you the opportunity to set a high standard and shows your respect for the job.

8. Have regular gatherings to build esprit de corps. These could be informal lunches that allow workers to speak freely outside the office. Or they could be special holiday or anniversary celebrations that let employees relate to each other as people rather than only as colleagues.

If you demonstrate a strong measure of loyalty to your team, you'll find that same measure of loyalty being returned to you. In these trying times - inspiring loyalty will help you get the most out of your team and lay the foundation for lasting success.

(Read More: I've Had Enough!Setting Boundaries with the Boss)

Jeremy Kingsley is the author of "Inspired People Produce Results - How Great Leaders Use Passion, Purpose, and Principles to Unlock Incredible Growth," and the President of OneLife Leadership. You can follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Kingsley Learn more at www.JeremyKingsley.com