The greatest example I can think of when it comes to loyalty was my best friend growing up – Chet. He had short red hair, and was a mutt – a cross between a Saint Bernard and an Irish Setter as far as anyone could tell. Chet would follow me all over my hometown of Cleveland, Tennessee.
One Saturday afternoon, my brother and I rode our bikes downtown to the movies for a cool respite from the summer heat. Chet ran beside us the whole way, protecting us from other dogs wanting to nip at our heels. We parked our bikes in the rack on the side of the theater, and Chet followed us to the front door. When we went in, he plopped down on the sidewalk out front.
When the movie ended my brother and I walked out the side exit, retrieved our bikes and rode home for supper. After the meal, my mother noted Chet had not shown up to be fed as was his custom. Suddenly I remembered my dear companion. It was getting dark by the time we arrived back at the theater, and as suspected, there on an empty sidewalk lay Chet patiently waiting on us.
It would be unfair to compare the loyalty of a dog that would wait for hours for us to a human being who gets impatient after only a few minutes. The reality is, there are not many Chets among us. Loyalty, you see, is a two-way street. It requires effort, commitment and compassion on both sides of the fence. If you create a workplace where loyalty is a given, you will be richly rewarded, because there is nothing like having someone who will “watch your back” day in and day out. Those are the people who care for and operate your equipment like it was their own, who work long hours and weekends to meet a deadline, and treat your customers with courtesy and respect. Such people are a rarity and deserve your utmost respect and loyalty.
We’re all guilty of sometimes expecting more from others than we are willing to give in return. Such one-sided relationships don’t last long. If good lines of communication are in place, compassion and understanding can help keep things in perspective and eventually restore a climate of mutual loyalty.