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Never Punish Loyal Employees For Being Honest

Loyal employees tell you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear.

Jack got fired because he kept telling his boss what his boss did not want to hear - the truth.

The last straw was when one of Jack's co-workers made a costly mistake, and Jack suggested to change the process to make such mistakes less likely. That process was set up by the boss, and the boss did not want to take any responsibility.

Jack was a typical loyal employee:

1. He cared about success - of the team, of the boss, and his own
2. He told the boss what the boss needed to hear
3. He never disagreed with his boss in public, and supported his boss decisions publicly
4. He worked hard and was dependable

In New York where this all took place, employment is "at will".

Thus, firing Jack was easy.

Dealing with the consequences would be hard even for a strong leader.

For a weak one, his boss, it was impossible. Other loyal employees were dismayed at this firing and quit within a few months. Critical knowledge of systems and processes was not replaceable. The boss had to leave within a year.

To be leaders, we have to understand that

1. loyal criticism is a true blessing
2. loyalty is built on honesty and trust
3. loyal employees are precious gems, not stepping stones

There is a saying: "Never push loyal people to the point where they do not give a damn!"

If we are not ready to be loyal to our loyal employees, we are not ready to lead them.

Credit: Oleg

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