Thursday, June 27, 2013

Where the Loyalty Lies

With the re-appointment of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister, I slept well for the first time in 3 years and 3 days.  There is now a new hope for the Australian Labor Party (ALP) to climb back up the polls and possibly win the next election. (after ex-Prime Minister Julia Gillard stepped down and retires after losing yesterday's leadership ballot).

Now we all know the environment in parliament is quite different to the environment of our workplaces.  However, one thing that both parliament and our workplaces have in common is navigating that fine line of loyalty.  Our loyalty to the party, organisation or employer and loyalty to the leader, CEO or our manager.

Political loyalty over the last 24 hours has been raised many times (even more over the last 3 years!) and it was clear that some politicians really struggled with their decision on who should be leader of the ALP, thus becoming Prime Minister.

By nature of who we are and the psychology under which we operate, we humans are social and loyal creatures. We thrive in an environment surrounded by other like minded people. We all want to belong to something and by belonging to something, we want to pledge an allegiance and our loyalty to that person or group.  In the workplace, we ideally work for an organisation who mirrors our values, surrounded by similar thinking people, channeling the same values, vision and being a team player.

What the ALP party members faced yesterday was a tug-of-war in the loyalty games.  Either loyalty to the incumbent PM (their manager) or loyalty to the ALP (organisation, employer).
It was a choice of either; a) Stick with Julia Gillard, the present PM, someone who is good with her team but has alienated the public and may greatly lose seats in the election.  Or b) Vote for Kevin Rudd, ex PM who was disposed of 3 years ago, someone who may not be the best with their team but will have a greater chance to win around the public and not lose so many seats or even possibly win the election. Ultimately, it was also a choice in age old, 'flight or fight' - fight for a chance for the ALP and their own seat's survival or flight, flee reality and continue pledging loyalty to the then PM, Julia Gillard.

In today's ever changing workplaces, our loyalties are constantly being tested. Redundancies, downsizing, mergers and takeovers, no one is really secure where they are and in some professional environments and circumstances, the only person you can really count on is yourself.  There have been many times when I have demonstrated loyalty to the organisation and or to my managers. Many times, my loyalty did not really count for anything.  Regardless of my attitude, regardless of my hard working nature.  Unfortunately, it seems to me these days that loyalty counts when money and business doesn't, or at least when budgets are not that tight and jobs are not in jeopardy.

So what did we learn today?
We all want to be loyal, we all want to be part of something bigger and want to be surrounded by like minded people. However, when the times are tough and people are scared, we retreat and question what we need in the search for self-preservation.  In tough situations, we too would question our loyalty.  We also need to remember that where you place your loyalty can determine your own success or failure. It's no wonder that loyalty is not lauded as it once used to be.

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