Loyalty is an important concept in our lives.
But loyalty can also be used to take advantage of people. Especially in the business world.
It’s important to understand where loyalty ranks in your personal value system and to know when it’s good for you to be loyal and when it’s good to figure out a new path for yourself.
Relationships are usually unconditional or transactional.
If you determine that a relationship in your life is unconditional then you’ve decided that you’re going to be loyal to the other party no matter what they do. No matter how far they push you. No matter how negative it becomes.
However, most relationships will be transactional. You’ll be loyal to the other party as long as they provide a certain value to you. That is usually determined upfront by both of you. The agreement may change over time and you’ll both be loyal up to the point where you feel that the transaction is still valuable.
If, however, the transactional relationship pushes past the point that you’re comfortable with then it’s time to look for another arrangement probably with another party. If this happens the idea of loyalty could be thrown at you as a way to gain back your services and energy.
In business, there might be a situation where you started working for a company. You had no experience. They took you on. They trained you. They took a chance on you. Now you’re good at your job. You’re making money for the business. But you feel that the compensation or growth opportunity doesn’t fit. You want more either with the company or without.
The company may bring up loyalty and how you owe it to them to stay there because they took a chance on you.
It’s not a bad point, but it can be disingenuous. The company may tout loyalty from you, but they feel that they could cut ties with you whenever they want.
Every situation is different. The company may have took a chance on you, but if you feel that you provided more than enough value in return then it’s totally in your right to look for other options for your future. If the company believes in your future then they will provide what you’re looking for or meet you somewhere in the middle.
The takeaway is to watch out for loyalty in your personal and professional life. It’s certainly a good quality. Especially in unconditional relationships. But we actually have very few of those in our lifetimes. Most relationships are transactional. And as soon as you feel that you’re not getting your fair share it’s okay to open the discussion for a new arrangement and if that doesn’t work out it’s okay to look for other options.
Once you start pushing back, the other party may bring up loyalty. But usually it’s just a tactic to play to your emotions and get you to cave. Only you can decide if it’s worth caving or not.