Encouraging Engagement: Showing Loyalty as Intentional Practice in Building Trust




“The greater the loyalty of a group toward the group, the greater is the motivation among the members to achieve the goals of the group, and the greater the probability that the group will achieve its goals.” 


                  Rensis Likert, American Educator and Organizational Psychologist 

  • Sometimes we forget that what used to work still works, is available in real time and offers a low tech yet powerful approach to promoting engagement

What could be a more practical approach to building trust than the words expressed in this quote from one of America’s pioneers in the field of organizational behavior? There is nothing normative or judgmental in the way Rensis Likert expresses the power of loyalty here. This is pure pragmatism and group dynamics and like it or not for the most part our business is a social system with an economic purpose, a community intentionally developed for a purpose, pragmatism in action. We are loyal to our company and to each other because it works towards producing the results we are seeking.

“Showing Loyalty” as a practice is one key to the kind of power to produce results we are seeking as managers. It is built just as intentionally as the community that supports the business purpose and is a function of integrity, loyalty, recognition and gratitude. Each piece of this practice, integrity, loyalty, recognition and gratitude is intended to reinforce and acknowledge the interdependence that underlies the success of the larger enterprise.

Consciously recognizing that whatever success the business has experienced is the product of the actions of many, not just a few employees is the foundation for this practice. When we can stay present to this “fact” it is easy to realize that giving credit to the contribution of others both personally and publically is a reinforcing act and power building practice in itself. Who doesn’t want to be around people who readily recognize our contribution and thank us for what we have provided?

The integrity aspect of “Showing Loyalty” is tested when those we may be speaking of or about are not present.

  • Can we discipline ourselves to always speak of someone else as if they were with us? Wow!

Wouldn’t it change how we felt about each other if we knew that no one would ever say anything about us that they would not say in our presence? Would we not also be quick to want to return that loyalty in kind?

Questions for Reflection:

 1) Can you commit yourself to never speaking of or about co-workers in any way other than how you would in their presence?

2) Scan your work group for opportunities that have been missed to recognize someone’s contribution. Take action if you do see the opportunity. 


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