Recently I made a post asking the dentists who make up the Facebook group “Dental Marketing with Grace” if they could list only one main core value. The post generated excellent engagement and many members listed values that I easily agreed with and understood.
When someone mentioned “loyalty”, my thoughts quickly oscillated between “that’s a good one! It’d be amazing to know my team is loyal to the business!” To “wait, no. That really shouldn’t be the core value of any organization.”
Let me dive into this concept in a way that will hopefully challenge thinking.
According to Webster Merriam Dictionary, loyalty is defined as: ‘unswerving in allegiance’.
This is where I’m challenged. See, loyalty is a big word. It’s what you promise when getting married. There’s an infinite timeline on loyalty. Can a person truly give full loyalty to a business? Perhaps. Should they? No. One’s loyalty to a business shouldn’t come before their loyalty to their own personal needs and the needs of their family.
Should a person stay with a company or employer even if the position no longer serves their family’s needs? Absolutely not. Employees can serve a business with the intention to be a long term part of the team, but should a person commit to a lifetime of loyalty to a business? Yes, but with the contingency that it continues to serve their needs.
I’m not implying that when the going gets tough, people should leave without first attempting to overcome a challenging situation. I’m also not implying that people should job hop or be in a state of constantly seeking the next best thing. That won’t serve them well in the long term of their career. A career should serve you, as much as you serve it. Work should be fulfilling and should be something to look forward to. It should allow you to grow professionally and personally. It should allow you to be surrounded by caring and honest people. It should contribute to your life. If it stops serving you, take the next steps to a better future.
You have one life.
Instead of calling this core value ‘loyalty’, it should be referenced as ‘dedication’. You can be dedicated to your team without committing to loyalty, which is unwavering. If you see a practice or methodology that doesn’t seem ethical, you should question it. You should challenge the leadership in your life. You should openly and directly challenge things that don’t feel right. This is where growth occurs.
I challenge you to create an environment that produces dedication. Support each employee individually while recruiting for ethics such as integrity, a strong work ethic, and a dedication to excellent communication. The result will be a dedicated team.
In this life, it’s more important that we live with love and compassion, than it is that we demand loyalty. Instead, serve your team and loyalty will follow.