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Leadership and Loyalty

Loyalty, like unity (with which it is closely allied) is a leadership absolute, an imperative. It is something a leader should expect and on which he should be able to rely. Without loyalty, there really is no leader/follower relationship. A leader must cultivate and reward loyalty and must punish and expel those who are disloyal. This may seem harsh, but it is a leadership lesson of Jesus. Loyalty does not mean mindless, uncritical devotion. That is worship, and no one other than Jesus is worthy of worship. Leaders make a grave mistake when they exercise the kind of leadership which requires any kind of submission. When this happens, leadership has degenerated into paranoia. This is not loyalty. Loyalty is exercised primarily outside the group. Sometimes the most loyal thing a follower can do is to openly disagree with a leader to his face. Because he cares about both the leader and the mission, he is willing to say, “Wait a minute. I think we're making a mistake here. Please explain to me why this is the best policy.” These kinds of questions, openly asked of a leader, do not represent disloyalty. A wise leader should be open to answering honest questions and dealing with honest disagreements. This builds and sustains both loyalty and unity. Actually, the way disloyalty shows itself within the group is when questions and disagreements are not openly asked and discussed. This sows disunity and must be curtailed. An even more serious kind of disloyalty occurs when followers do not support the leader and the mission outside the group, especially among the competition or opposition...When a follower is disloyal and denigrates the leader or the endeavour outside the group, he is no longer a follower and should not be treated as such. Unless and until the disloyalty is dealt with and the person restored, he should be expelled from the group. A leader cannot—and should not—tolerate disloyalty. 
- Bob Briner 
(Source : Leadership Lessons of Jesus)

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