Loyalty and happiness go “hand in hand.” Love and loyalty are two of the cardinal virtues that hold every institution together. Love is universal. Loyalty (commitment) brings out the best in human relationships in marriage, family, corporate, and national and international relationships. Loyalty is a great stabilizer of human relationships. Maturity underpins loyalty. Loyalty contributes to improving the “Happiness Index” (HI) of peoples and nations.
“Loyalty to the family must be merged into loyalty to the community, loyalty to the community into loyalty to the nation, and loyalty to the nation into loyalty to [humankind]. The citizen of the future must be a citizen of the world.” — Thomas Cochrane (1775–1860).
Love informs loyalty. Without love (agápē) in a relationship, loyalty cannot flourish. Likewise, loyalty in marriage, care for family, and integrity in business can surpass all other human attributes except love (agápē). The mere fact that a person knows that the other is loyal infuses feelings of peace, safety, security, and happiness, and it strengthens the relationship.
Although loyalty is critical to all relationships, it can flourish only in a nurturing and caring environment. Allegiance, constancy, consistency, dependability, devotion, faithfulness, fidelity, openness, reliability, steadfastness, and trustworthiness also underpin loyalty. Loyalty transcends feelings of happiness, contentment, and security. Loyalty also extends into the lives of children and all those who are a part of the family, group, corporation, institution, or organization that exemplifies loyalty. This human attribute, though, challenging to maintain in our modern era, transcends all relationship barriers.
Loyalty can be the bedrock of longevity in any relationship, good or bad. From street gangs to close-knit, traditional families, loyalty is the glue that holds the relationship together. Loyalty can also be a double-edged sword; for instance, many autocratic leaders of past centuries, with a rigid ideology, and those who were loyal to them carried out their command, causing great carnage and unhappiness in the world.
Conversely, disloyalty is a destructive force that can instantaneously destroy relationships, along with everything that was built up over many years. Many factors in life underpin disloyalty; the most critical is “self-interest.” In marriage, some may have selfish motives that satisfy their personal goals rather than mutual goals of the relationship and cause the other partner to be disloyal.
Disloyalty can impair long-standing relationships, sometimes with a single act of betrayal. Divorced parents may move on to happier life experiences, but the statisticians tell us that the rising number of broken homes, fatherless children, and single-parent homes do not present a happy picture for children of the twenty-first century and the new millennium.
In generations past, the family offered its members a more crowded centralized unit, which operated within a framework of moral and social principles and values, underpinned by family loyalty. Families in our highly mobile era may not view themselves as integral building blocks of societies, but they are the building blocks of society, with children at the nucleus. Problems affecting the postmodern family result from a shift from family cohesion, as a unit in society, to family bifurcation. Family members in the modern era strive for greater independence as opposed to interdependence, and a shift away from ‘family loyalty’ as a foundation of ‘family stability.’
CORPORATE LOYALTY AND HAPPINESS
Lack of loyalty in the business arena often displays a similar dynamic in which some employees feel betrayed by corporations that do not demonstrate the loyalty of the past when the human worker was essential to the industrial processes facilitated by machines; machines served people. The efficiencies of modern machines have surpassed the performance and productivity of people, undermining corporate loyalty to their employees.
The postmodern world has introduced a new world of work, much different from that of past eras. Employees face a competitive and demanding workplace with fewer opportunities for advancement in some sectors of the workforce and greater workloads. Some employees complain that the work environment is more stressful and less tolerant of their concerns. Employees do not perform just one function, but multiple functions. Multitasking is a common concept in the lexicon of the handbook for employees.
The current job climate places businesses at an advantage where supply outstrips the demand, as candidates compete in a highly competitive job marketplace. The rising cost of production, the profit motive, and employee benefits—in particular, health care and pension benefits—may influence the corporate decision to move their operations to other states and countries. Likewise, the employee may display disloyalty due to a workplace that may be unfulfilling. These situations can lead to a “mutually unhappy” workplace for employer and employee.
Rapid technological changes have an adverse impact on the culture of corporations and the relationship between employer and employee. The words employer and employee loyalty have all but disappeared from the lexicon of workplace vocabulary in the postmodern era. More importantly, neither employer nor employee expects or contemplates loyalty as salient to the postmodern workplace of Artificial Intelligent (AI) machines.
An unhappy workplace does not bode well for the future of productivity, but many innovative organizations are coming to the rescue. One such organization is Zappos, led by CEO Tony Hsieh, with creative work such as “Delivering Happiness” (http://deliveringhappiness.com/book/).
Nations can measure the cost of happiness empirically in our twenty-first century, in which corporate loyalty is on the downturn with the same detrimental impact as the downturn of the economy. The effects of many of these changes, in which corporations refer to employees as “surplus,” also invade the home as family stress, while uncertainty rises and suffocates the happiness of individuals, families, and entire communities as well.
Corporate loyalty sustained and brought corporations through the Industrial Revolution (1800s–1900s) and down through the twenty-first century. Likewise, loyalty had once been the bedrock of marriage relationships. Today, marriage partners seek divorce citing “irreconcilable differences,” which might be symptoms of chronic unhappiness with each other or a particular situation, behavior, or attitude.
The viability of great societies hinges on the integrity of the great pillars of marriage, family, community, and corporations, fortified by stable governments when nations contemplate the potency of loyalty at all levels of interaction. Following (in random order) are twenty key attributes and behaviors that enhance loyalty within every institution.
TWENTY KEY ATTRIBUTES AND BEHAVIORS THAT INCREASE LOYALTY WITHIN EVERY INSTITUTION
- Seek God’s guidance in human affairs.
- Lead with a clear vision.
- Lead with humility and servanthood.
- Practice loyalty (faithfulness) and fidelity in marriage.
- Strive for work-life balance.
- Nurture good behavior in children.
- Accept shared responsibilities.
- Empathize with the needs of others.
- Demonstrate integrity in relationships.
- Practice prudent financial management.
- Share the family and corporate vision.
- Practice transparency in all relationships.
- Create an ergonomic work environment.
- Create a safe working environment.
- Strive to create employment stability.
- Create an “open-door” policy environment.
- Share profit with employees.
- Reward hard-working and high-performing employees.
- Practice impartial conflict management.
- Promote based on overall performance.
Challenges will arise in the form of disloyalty and infidelity in marriage, religious division, corporate challenges, racial and social unrest, political apathy, and a general state of societal dysfunction. Nevertheless, daily practice of these twenty attributes and behaviors can have a profound influence on the happiness of every institution and organization that are essential to worth, growth, and productivity.
Differences in marriage may not always be “irreconcilable.” Perhaps they are always “reconcilable.” The family should strive to remain loyal, and renew a “new” spirit of cooperation for the survival of families, corporations, and nations. Loyalty enables all human relationships with mutual benefits. What can postmodern societies do to foster a greater sense of loyalty? People can begin with an understanding that Loyalty is an indispensable ally in their quest for happiness. They can start with an understanding that loyalty in marriage travels the same “trajectory” as loyalty in families, communities, corporations, and nations. Similar to lessons of ‘obedience,’ lessons of ‘loyalty’ are essential to inform the behavior of children and youths, that eventually become adults.
People must endeavor to maintain the “trajectory of loyalty” and pass on this salient human attribute to the next generation. People must maintain a conscious awareness of the adverse effects of disloyalty in relationships within marriage, family, community, corporation, and nation. To do otherwise is to flirt with a higher cost of human survival that makes less money and other human resources available to build needed “happiness infrastructure,” and to lower the threshold of unhappiness for many.
Loyalty has deeper significance than being faithful in marriage, dedicated to one’s marriage, or being a dependable employee, or employer. The act of being loyal is deeply rooted in behavior that is honest and transparent with no trace of deceptiveness. Some individuals pursue their careers, money, wealth, and power to the detriment of a happy marriage, the well-being of children, the integrity of their business partnership, and the solvency of their nation. Loyalty is also critical to the peace and security among nations. This form of loyalty does not flourish in a vacuum; it demands maturity.
Writers, Errol A. and Marjorie G. Gibbs are avid readers, inspired researchers, and mentors. Their journey, which began with their “search for happiness,” led along paths to “Optimum Happiness (OH),” which is a “higher value proposition” for human survival as a viable species. These same paths await on your “journey of discovery.” “Discovering Your Optimum ‘Happiness Index’ (OHI).”