Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A return to loyalty

Those of you who are my age and older may have heard the name Archie Manning. He's not just Peyton's and Eli's father, he made a name for himself as a premier NFL Quarterback. He played most of his career for the New Orleans Saints, however, these were not the Saints we know today that win Super Bowls and whose fans loudly and proudly chant "Who Dat." These are the Saints of the late 1960s and early 1970s, who were lucky enough to even win a game, whose fans named them the "Ain't's and created the image of the paper bag wearing fan embarrassed of their team. Despite their horrible record and lack of talent, Archie suited up and played every Sunday. He did the best with what he had, many times getting pummeled by defenders. In today's age, some quarterbacks may gripe to the media, get their agents to cry to the owners to draft more winning players, or even force a trade. Not Archie. Archie could have done those things, but did not. He valiantly played for the team that drafted him and the city that brought him success. This is true loyalty!

Whether on the job, in politics, as a student, or in friendship, one cannot immediately expect loyalty, as it is something that must be earned though actions and words. Only then can both parties be confident enough in each others' loyalty that the phrase "lie down in traffic" can be used to describe those close bonds.

In The Calling to Lead, Michael Buonocore, the main character, has been taught how to be loyal by his parents and it was that guidance which gave Michael the ability to form close bonds with many in his life that contributed to his successes in life and in his professions. And in The Calling to Lead, loyalty is a two way street. Coming up professionally, the characteristics of loyalty he practiced with Flynn Mannion and Karen Hansen helped him as he moved on through life. As a leader, Michael showed himself to be a positive mentor and a leader who gave credit, gave thanks and gave many opportunities to those who worked with him, whether it was Steve Morehouse, Beth Amino, or his former students. Michael's strong bonds of friendship and family unity also allowed for loyalty to exist, not because of anything either party could get from each other, but because through the years, trust and reliability was built and each party knew they could count on one another.

Loyalty...such an important quality in American society and today, in 2010, it seems nearly non-existent. Here are some reasons as to why:
  1. Selfishness: This can be by the leader (you do for me because I brought you here) or by the underling (representing themselves more so than under whom they work)
  2. Lack of recognition: Comes about when the leader does not give proper credit; as little as a "thank you/good job" to as big as taking credit for that underling's performance
  3. Blind ambition: The underling totally ignoring all social/interpersonal skills with the sheer interest of getting ahead and using someone, even if it is at the expense of others.

As Americans, we need to look at ourselves and look at society, take a step back and think if this is the behavior we want our children, the next generation(s) to exhibit. We must remember that children also learn by observing actions and by ignoring loyalty, we teach our children to disregard loyalty and in turn, are endorsing selfishness. Therefore, by embracing loyalty and allowing its return to our society through our everyday actions whether on a professional or personal basis, loyalty will survive in future generations.

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