Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The new wave of strike action or a new type of disloyalty?

Is losing 12, 9 million workings days in 2007 and 991 000 days in 2008 a new wave of strike action or a new type of disloyalty?

Disloyal employees breed strife, hatred and murmuring within an organisation. A new wave of disloyalty does not happen overnight. It is a process and often organisations are unaware of it. Many business leaders do not even notice disloyalty amongst their staff. Organisations simply don’t do enough to identify and fix the issues surrounding disloyalty.

The process of disloyalty often starts with employees wanting to do their own thing, in their own way. This attitude of independence is a great quality in leadership, but this type of attitude can become so strong that it brings confusion and strife among employees.

Looking around you in the workplace, you will see that people are grieved and even hurt by poor decisions. This stage often ushers employees down the road of disloyalty. Not attending to this situation can lead to employees who are not fully engaged, are unconcerned and uninvolved. This is dangerous and very counter-productive and often leads to employees who are very critical. It is now even possible that faults are magnified and a hyper-critical atmosphere can prevail in the workplace.

Disloyalty can have a devastating impact on an organisation, and as we have seen by the recent strike action, on a country. It is even possible at such a critical stage that employees don’t hear the truth anymore. Disloyal staff members also have an insidious way of discussing the shortcomings of their leaders and thinking that they are better than their seniors. If organisations don’t start with a series of purposeful discussions with all staff to get to the core of the disloyalty, open rebellion can occur.

Disloyalty has common root causes; programmes and rules and regulations will not solve these problems. I believe that Stephen Covey was absolutely right when he said the following: “I‘m convinced that 90% of failures in life are character failures, not ability failures”. We need to develop character-based organisations. Good character is the inward motivation to do what is right, according to the highest standards of behaviour in every situation and transcends age, position, financial status, race, religion, education, gender and personality.

The true test of character in the economic meltdown that we are in right now is our response to the pressure of difficult situations - it is what we do when we think no one will ever know. A character of disloyalty may take years or even a lifetime to repair.

Dr Mario Denton, industrial psychologist and organisational consultant.

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