CEO Values Critical to Employee Loyalty and Motivation

Let me ask you a question. How well do your senior leaders model the behaviors they request of their teams?

SmartBrief on Leadership recently asked just that question in a poll on their site (results at right). Sadly, less than 10% answered, “all the time.” The greatest percentage, 40%, said, “most of the time, but have their moments when they don’t.” And the next greatest answer at 32% said, “sometimes, when it’s easy to walk the talk.”

It’s that slippage – those “moments when they don’t,” those “when it’s easy” efforts – that’s killing employee loyalty and motivation according to research reported in [email protected] (the School of Business at Arizona State University):

“Mid-level managers are likely to rally around their company only if their CEO truly values the interests of the organization and is not motivated primarily by self-interest, according to the study by W. P. Carey School of Business Management Professor Anne S. Tsui, Ping Ping Fu of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Jun Liu of Renmin University of China, and Lan Li of Chinese Entrepreneur Survey System. …

“In companies in which chief executives with transformational leadership behaviors valued above all the interests of the company and people — both inside and outside — middle managers demonstrated strong commitment to the companies and said they were unlikely to look for jobs elsewhere. But where transformational CEOs placed the highest values on personal fulfillment, the middle managers below them were less committed to the firm and more likely to seek positions outside the company.”

I’ve written before about the need to help employees align their personal values with the company values, and this never more true or necessary than in the CEO spot. A CEO who leads the company from a place of transparency, directed by his or her own personal values to the extent that those values permeate the organization to guide and direct its success as well, is the CEO whose team will remain the most loyal, most motivated and most productive in delivering what the CEO expects and needs for company success.

I’m lucky enough to have spent the last 10 years of my career working for such a CEO, Eric Mosley, who is also the co-author of our recent book, Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Eric built Globoforce on the same principles and best practices we share with our clients – frequently, timely, specific and meaningful recognition and appreciation of people when they demonstrate our company values and contribute to our success.

What about you? Does your CEO lead from a place of honest, consistent alignment of personal values with the values of your organization? How does that affect your loyalty to the organization?

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