Food for Thought: Loyalty
- The employee who gossips to co-workers about the boss's personal problems?
- The employee who jumps the chain of command to report a disagreement over a relatively minor policy decision?
- The supervisor who sits silently while upper management gives the supervisor the sole credit for the success of an operation that was a team project?
- The supervisor who foists a poor perfomer off on another department?
Those little disloyalties don't make the front pages and yet they foster mistrust and division. They may thrive because many people don't think of them as acts of disloyalty or, as in the case of the chain of command jumper, they believe that another virtue, such as pursuit of excellence, has trumped the obligation of loyalty.
The presumption, I believe, should be in favor of loyalty and - I'll go out on a limb here - even mildly inept bosses deserve it. If a safety hazard or its equivalent is present, then clearly any loyalty to the boss has expired but if supervisors had to fear that every fumble or policy disagreement could trigger staff disloyalty, then organizations could lapse into chaos.