Is There a Place for Loyalty in Business?

Shutterstock_257350570Is it me, or is the business world becoming colder and more cut-throat every day? Is loyalty now a defunct concept? Or is there still merit in being loyal to those around you?


Your colleagues are really your keenest competitors. Paradoxically, they are also your greatest allies. So how should you deal with them? Well, most people are decent and understand that to get on you need to work with people, not against them.

It’s true that your colleagues are often chasing the same promotion as you are. However, most bosses are wise and can see things clearly: they will hand out promotions based on merit. Given that’s most often the case and that, if you’re promoted, your colleagues will soon become your reports, being true and loyal to them seems like a sensible strategy. It’s a strategy that will benefit you if you become their boss and they know you to be a fair and decent person.


Do you ever have the feeling that those who report to you are constantly biting at your heals? That they’re only after your job?  What should you do about it? Realistically, any exceptional person will rise through the ranks regardless of you, so you may as well be decent to them and support them. Make them friends and you can support each other throughout your careers. 


It’s common these days to move jobs every two or three years. Loyalty to your employers seems an outdated concept. However, there is merit in loyalty to the right employer. If your employer is developing you, paying you well and providing you with new challenges and opportunities, the benefits of showing loyalty are manifold. By remaining loyal, you will have the opportunity to know the company well as you rise through the ranks. As a result, you will be more effective than someone coming in from the outside.  

Displaying loyalty also gives your bosses an additional reason to select you for promotion. They will feel confident that you are the person who can take a long- term view and see your plans through. Don’t underestimate the value of that — especially as you become more senior. 


It seems an eternal truth that your customers will sometimes spend more money with you, and sometimes less. But show disloyalty to your customers at your peril. It is far better to look after them.  Loyal customers have a funny way of rewarding you with more business just when you least expect it, and most need it.

Also, your customers can move from one company to another. So, if you’ve been loyal to them, they’ll may be loyal to you and bring you with them to their new employer.


Why be loyal to your supplier? After all, you may be getting calls every day from their competitors, promising better service at a lower price.

Well, if you’ve found a partner who you can have a long-term relationship with, it’s worth its weight in gold. You may experience times when your customers change their minds at the last minute. Thanks to your loyalty, your suppliers may be flexible, and help you to fulfill your customers’ last minute demands. 

Loyalty, even in business, comes at a price. At times, it will be ignored, at others it will count for nothing. It won’t prevent treachery. However, its benefits far outweigh its short-comings. It’s so desirable a trait that may employers would rather see it above many others. As recognized by American film producer Samuel Goldwyn, “I'll take fifty percent efficiency to get one hundred percent loyalty.” I wonder if he ever got it?

About the Author

6a01a511390cc1970c01a511393b37970c-120siHeather Foley works as a consultant at, an HR technology specialistETS has been a partner to some of the world’s most respected companies since 1989, delivering specialist consultancy and leading edge technology in the following areas: employee research and engagement, leadership development, 360° feedback, performance management, and talent and succession planning.


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