“Never let go of loyalty and faithfulness. Tie them around your neck; write them on your heart. If you do this, both God and people will be pleased with you.” Proverbs 3:3-4.
Loyalty not exceptional skills will determine your altitude. It does not matter how skilled and experienced you are, if you are not reliable and trustable, you are unlikely to be ‘seen.’ In any organization, you need to establish close working relationships with the key decision makers – usually people who sign on cheques, and those who influence them. The early signs of trust start with being assigned roles like being sent to one’s office to fix tea or bring a note book. This may be escalated to being requested to type documents or carry the bag. As trust builds further, the CEO or top manager may request you to help with personal errands like sending you out for lunch or plan the travel itinerary. Granted, many leaders have personal assistants (PAs) to handle such things. If you are loyal, the executive will be more comfortable dealing with you for personal errands and with the PA for official business. That is how life happens. Once you get ‘seen’ by the top honcho, you start getting a lot of responsibilities and being picked out to champion the critical roles or benefit from travel and such perks.
Take a case of two people. Alex, a 32 aged, tall dark skinned is a high-quality professional with a second degree and a professional certification. He is an old boy of a reputable traditional school. He walks with a spring in his legs. He is brilliant. His work quality is superb. His only challenge is lack of reliability. Because he knows is good, he works the time. As it clocks 5:00pm sharp, he is off the office. He lies and sometime does things behind the back of colleagues.
James, on the other hand, is 35 years old, and holds only a first degree. He is down to earth, humble and very trustable. He makes it a point to ask his supervisors, “let me know anything you would like help with.” And he does as ask. Above all, he is very reliable and predictable. Accordingly, his supervisor sends him back to the car to pick personal items or to order for lunch.
Which of the above two professionals have opportunities to thrive? To succeed on any job, you need minimum technical skills. However, to become an outlier, you must offer something beyond skills. You must be humble, trustable and loyal. All great leaders rely on humble ladies and men to run companies, governments and businesses. Unfortunately, being seen takes time. You must act consistently well over a long period of time. And once you are seen and trusted, it is all for you to break. The sky will be the limit to the extent that leader can take you. For majority, if not all, loyalty not skills will determine your altitude.
Bernabas M. Mugisa, Mr. Strategy, helps plant the seed of transformation. Visit www.summitcl.com/boardtools to become a better Board member TODAY.