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Loyalty: Loyalty is not a one-way street

Without loyalty stable relationships are impossible. It is THE requirement for real friendships, but also for working working relationships, partnerships and customer relationships. It is no coincidence that business is based on "good faith". Loyal friends, colleagues and co-workers stand up for others, give them reliable support, share common values ​​and pursue common goals - often beyond the required minimum, sometimes against their own interests. Nevertheless, there is a kind of double standard in many companies - which demands loyalty but refuses its own. The question rightly arises: Has loyalty become an outdated concept? And is it still worth being loyal at all? We took a closer look at it ...

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Definition and meaning: what does it mean to be loyal?

The term originally comes from French. There he rather stands for legal, so something like law abiding. According to Duden means the term loyalty... to have a "loyal disposition, attitude, behavior". Unfortunately, this is a bit tautological and therefore not very informative.

synonym Often other terms are used to describe loyalty, such as: Decency, sincerity, constancy, honesty, honesty, fairness, straightforwardness, integrity, honesty, righteousness, honesty, solidarity, loyalty, connectedness, truthfulness, reliability. That brings us closer to the matter. As a definition one could formulate:

Loyalty describes an inner bond with a person, group or community that is based on reciprocity, honesty and reliability. In short: you can rely on and trust a loyal person.

Loyalty always shows when we stand by someone voluntarybecause we have made the decision ourselves, because we identify with the values ​​and views of a person, a group or even an employer, share them and want to stand up for them together.

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Difference between loyalty and solidarity

To be loyal means to support goals that are different not necessarily always with your own cover must and especially to stick together when difficulties arise. Loyalty can also mean putting one's own interests aside in favor of others, even if this temporarily entails personal disadvantages.

However, who you can really rely on is rarely shown when everything is going well. Maintaining your own loyalty is easy. To prove it is something else. Only remaining steadfast and standing together in the face of adversity reveals loyalty, the Worth a promise - and the real character.

In a relationship as well as in a friendship or workforce. Understood in this way, loyalty is one thing above all else inner attitude, a kind of commitment.

Solidarity, on the other hand, describes standing up for one another and shows itself above all externally in the ethical-political context.

Crises as an indicator of real assistance

Loyalty is not a one-way street. It is based on reciprocity (Technical jargon: reciprocity).

Occasionally there may be one-sided loyalty. But it has a quick expiry date and mostly corresponds to the feelings of Fraud, betrayal, and treachery. It is also not uncommon in companies that loyalty is demanded from one side, but vice versa is weak or nonexistent.

This achieves the exact opposite: loyalty is seen as pressure or coercion and hollow phrase felt. The demand fizzles out, the employees are behaving increasingly disloyal.

Just like loyalty (in relationships and friendships) to yourself prove and prove must, loyalty also needs mutual confirmation from time to time. Sometimes this is enough Words. But they seem stronger Deeds.

However, this usually requires a veritable trigger crisis. In other words, when you can no longer do something on your own and rely on encouragement or help from outside.

Examples of loyalty in different contexts

There are several examples of loyalty that we have summarized below:

In relationships

Loyalty mostly reveals itself in partnership and friendship when you struggle with problems yourself, have self-doubts, no longer function as usual and need someone who listens, supports you, maybe even defends you against others. Loyalty in love usually includes not only the same values ​​and views, but also sexual loyalty.

In the state

You also show loyalty as a citizen of a country and as part of society by adhering to rules and laws. This form of loyalty comes close to the original meaning again. However, this can lead to conflicts between the individual and the state. In the past there have been misinterpretations of the concept of loyalty when loyalty was interpreted as unconditional obedience to the point of giving up on oneself. The term “loyalty to the Nibelung” was coined for such a politically disastrous understanding.

In the job

Loyalty in the work context can be shown, for example, in the event of a serious illness or a private stroke of fate that you first have to deal with and are therefore less efficient. Companies and bosses who show understanding in this situation and give those affected a kind of quiet time show exactly this reverse loyalty towards the employees who otherwise - without grumbling - hang in on weekends or voluntarily work overtime if necessary.

In business

You can just as easily be loyal as a customer, for example if you have been loyal to the same make of car for years. It would be perceived as disloyal if, for example, you change brands because the competition offers a comparable service package at a significantly lower price. Companies that work according to the Kaizen method are therefore committed to constant improvement in order to retain their customers.



Regardless of the context: True loyalty always shows when things are going badly for us and when we are most vulnerable. So in our weak hours.

It is precisely for this reason that we experience this Loyalty breach but also as particularly difficult and dramatic: We are already on the ground - and then the one or those on whom we have (wrongly) relied will also leave us! A disappointment in the literal sense of the word. Outright betrayal. A nasty break in a word.

After all: after the powerlessness, the anger that arises from it, something like knowledge and enlightenment usually follows. About who our real friends are. This often reduces the number of truly loyal ones - but we can count on that really leave. And to know that is also worth a lot.

How can loyalty in the company be recognized?

Of course, loyalty also plays an important role in the workplace. Loyal, loyal and reliable employees are a great success factor for companies. That is why managers never tire of swearing or demanding this kind of loyalty.

But what then draws you loyal employees except for a long service with the company? In fact, there is some evidence.

Loyal employees ...

  • share the aims the company.
  • bring themselves active one to achieve this.
  • don't talk bad (to the outside world) about their employer.
  • show great motivation.
  • do their jobs conscientious.
  • represent a positive image of the company - also to the outside world.
  • wear with your own Ideas contribute to development and improvement.
  • are ready, more than the bare minimum to do.
  • share their switching plans in time With.

Conversely, there are also some indications that how loyal an employer is stands by its employees and how seriously the organization takes the (long-term) Employee retention takes:

Loyal companies and bosses ...

  • show regularly (!) Appreciation and recognition for a job well done.
  • also stay with wrongdoing or failures fair.
  • give honest and constructive feedback.
  • create one transparent communication and convey clear goals.
  • generate a positive atmosphere based on fairness and trust.
  • reward above-average performance - also in monetary terms.
  • take care of weak employees and promote their potential.
  • ensure in the event of downsizing socially just solutions.

The last point, in particular, is a classic that the (remaining) workforce can use to recognize whether a company in distress is cured at the expense of the employees. That is why experts regularly emphasize the importance of a so-called separation culture.

Is employee loyalty dying out?

The figures are worrying: surveys regularly come to the conclusion that a large number of employees (around 70 percent) no emotional bond with the employer felt. Almost 15 percent even state that they have prepared themselves for a termination and want to change employers as soon as possible.

The question that many (rightly) ask: Why should I be loyal when I see that my employer is measuring two different standards?

The consequences are one increased employee turnover and declining loyalty, which in the extreme can extend to sabotage.

The labour market reflects this development only too clearly:

They used to be so called Chimney careers possible, so the employees remained from training to the board of directors Decades in the company, so-called patchwork CVs are increasing everywhere today: Employees change jobs faster and more frequently. Quite often for opportune reasons: people pay more elsewhere, offer more incentives, and roll out the red carpet for them. For the time being.

Accelerated Job cycles offer some advantages for employees:

  • faster and better opportunities for advancement
  • more salary with every change
  • more responsibility than in the old job
  • increased market value

From the “fight the Talents "is a" fight around Talents ”flared up. Experts today also speak of a so-called Workers marketin which they set the rules and negotiate the conditions for their work performance better and better.

The dwindling employee loyalty but cannot simply be blamed on the increasing greed of the younger generations, on opportunistic careerists or calculating egomaniacs. Of course there are, and have always been.

More often, however, it is the result of a lack of prospects in the company, a lack of appreciation and a lack of loyalty on the part of one's own employer. To do this, those affected do not even have to have experienced the lack of loyalty themselves. It's enough the signalsthat can be observed in the labor market:

  • The change in employment relationships
  • The increase in fixed-term contracts instead of permanent positions
  • Poorly (or not at all) paid internships until the introduction of the minimum wage
  • Decreasing job security
  • Mass layoffs in pursuit of profit despite alternatives

In short: the majority of employees would definitely want to be loyal. The circumstances make it difficult for them. Employee loyalty is no longer appropriate because it does not match the Conditions in the labor market goes hand in hand.

Can employee loyalty be regained?

Good question! And the good news is: basically yes - loyalty can be regained and even increased. But it's a long process that also has to regain lost trust. Talking is not enough. The intention must also be reflected in subsequent actions.

The most important measures to increase loyalty include:

  • Create incentives for employees

    For employees, the advantages of regular employer changes currently predominate. If specialists and top talents are to be tied to their own company for a longer period of time, appropriate incentives are required that make a change appear less attractive. This of course includes salary increases, but also professional development opportunities within the company - through increasing responsibility or exciting tasks with a flow effect.

    Read more about this here:

  • Promote long-term potential

    Employees are not only loyal when the pay is right. Professional prospects are also an important factor here. Nobody wants to stand still for years and have the feeling that they are no longer developing. Employers can try to increase employee loyalty through professional development. The strategic investment in the “capital in the mind” often pays off more than constantly increasing expenses in employer branding and recruiting.

    Read more about this here:

  • Improve the working atmosphere

    Studies show that the working atmosphere is more important for many employees than the amount of the salary, flexible working hours or additional vacation days. A good working atmosphere encourages employees to stay with the company - even if they could earn a little more money elsewhere.

    Read more about this here:

Show loyalty: does loyalty pay off?

However, one more question remains: Is loyalty even a sensible concept, a smart strategy? Or to put it another way: Does loyalty pay off?

Anyone who has ever been cheated will probably answer the question (from Disappointment and bitterness) immediately deny: “Success through loyalty? Never! ”Accordingly, quite a few disappointed people react particularly selfishly at first, motto: Then I just think about myself! That is - let's be honest - purer Self protection and humanly understandable.

But is that also wise in the long term?

That depends a bit on your own expectations from. But also about how much we our Self esteem make dependent on others.

Sure is an unreflective naive loyalty anything but clever. Those who trust others blindly and in too good faith run the risk of being exploited and exploited.

Conversely, stable relationships are unthinkable without trust. Mistrust and constant control poison any togetherness. The Promise of loyalty, solidarity, solidarity and reliability are essential prerequisites for friendships and healthy working relationships to develop in the first place.

The acceptance of mutual loyalty is thus a irreplaceable initial. The first and greatest gain is the creation of a relationship. For us humans as social beings, loyalty is therefore essential. It doesn't work without it. There would be no community, no friendships, no organizations.

But loyalty has even more positive effects:

  • Belonging and Stability

    It is not as if loyalty is always and everywhere disappointed. That happens and hits us hard and unexpectedly. But it is rather the exception to the rule. Experience of loyalty then gives us the feeling of security, security and belonging. We belong to a group (to an organization, to colleagues) that we can really rely on. This also gives us stability and a firm hold in life.

  • Strength and courage

    It is not a hollow saying, it is true: "Together we are stronger". Real loyalty compensates for existing weaknesses and gives us more strength than if we muddle through on our own. Equipped with the necessary support, loyal friends give us the courage to constantly exceed our own boundaries and limits and thus ultimately enable (personal) growth.

  • luck and happiness

    Who can identify with what he or she is doing; So if you are loyal to people and goals, you will inevitably become more satisfied and happier - and usually also more successful. Because the opposite is also true: having to do something that we (cannot) stand for makes us unhappy.

Loyalty is with it not dissimilar to the essence of love. It is independent, incorruptible and unselfish - but we still benefit from it.

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