11 Steps to Create Unity and Loyalty

by  John Bossong  |  Leadership Development

If there is one difference maker in organizations, it may be the leaders’ ability to create unity and loyalty. Unity and loyalty often make the difference between mediocrity and greatness. When I see an organization that lacks personal accountability and has a toxic culture of finger pointing and blame, it is usually the result of a lack of unity and loyalty.

Great leaders have the ability to create an organizational culture that minimizes politics, confusion and turnover. The great organizations have a cult like following, not only internally but externally. Think Apple, Zappos and Southwest Airlines.

Here are 11 things great leaders do to create oneness and richness. Not everyone will be loyal, but it’s worth the risk.

Create strong cultures

  1. Instill a strong belief in family and unity. Leaders avoid finger pointing and blaming. Everyone shares in both successes and failures. This instills that belief in family and unity.
  2. Hire the right people. Individuals who share your core values create a common bond. Seek out individuals who put team goals first.
  3. Constantly communicate the vision and mission of the organization. Individuals should be loyal to the vision and mission, not the leader.
  4. Create an atmosphere of working through adversity. Overcoming adversity strengthens the “oneness” and bond. You learn more from your losses than wins.

Act like a mentor

  1. Great leaders are vulnerable and comfortable with their flaws. They have the ability to disagree and commit. This builds loyalty.
  2. Display “window and mirror” maturity. When things go well leaders point out the window and give credit to everyone else. When things go wrong, they look in the mirror at themselves and take full responsibility. (From book, How The Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In, Jim Collins).
  3. Do not act like dictators. Leaders realize that the organization is greater than any one person.

Utilize these allies

  1. Leaders are great communicators. People in the organization know what everyone is doing. Hidden agendas disappear because the organization practices transparency.
  2. Agreements do not go unresolved. Because leaders are great communicators and because everyone knows what’s going on, leaders don’t allow tension and gossip to build. Issues are addressed immediately.
  3. Create shared purpose. The vision and goals of the organization are stated early and often. Unity will overcome individual talent. It’s common in athletics. The most talented team doesn’t always beat the most unified team.
  4. Serve other people. When you are leading you are serving. Help other people do their job and grow.

How about you and your organization? Do you have any advice or suggestions on creating and maintaining unity and loyalty?

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What People Are Saying

Chris Efessiou  |  13 Aug 2012  |  Reply

This is about as concise a list as I have seen in recent memory. i am particularly fond of #1 “Instill a strong belief in family and unity.” As an Entrepreneur, Marketing Strategist, Negotiations Architect, Speaker, and Author of CDO Chief Daddy Officer®- The Business of Fatherhood (, I understands first hand that the dynamics of success are the same whether you are addressing a group at work, or tucking your child into bed at night. My book takes every one of the 11 Steps you have outlined and applies them to business and personal relationships, and parenting in particular. I’d be happy to discuss further if interested. Kudos for your good work

John Bossong  |  13 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Mr. Efessiou,

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your thoughts and insights. I’ll have to check out your book, I have 3 daughters and need all the help I can get. You can contact me via email if you would like to discuss further.

Thanks again,
John Bossong

Mike Henry  |  13 Aug 2012  |  Reply

John, thanks for the great post. This is a challenging list. I especially liked the last one, The only way to maintain balance as a servant leader is to serve the mission or purpose of the organization. Develop your people and serve the mission and the organization will grow and the people will flourish. Thanks for the great reminder. Mike…

John Bossong  |  13 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Thank you Mike for the comments, I appreciate the opportunity to work with the LeadChange group.

David M. Dye  |  14 Aug 2012  |  Reply


I appreciate your post.

You make an important point in noting that (dis?)agreements cannot go unresolved. Nothing drives a wedge in unity and loyalty faster than a culture where nothing of substance can be productively discussed.


David M. Dye

John Bossong  |  14 Aug 2012  |  Reply


I agree with your comment. If it goes unresolved it typically results in bitterness and anger. Both of which are not good. Address the issues immediately and move on. Thanks for commenting.


TS Bray  |  18 Aug 2012  |  Reply


You post lists very key elements to building unity and loyalty within organizations. I only wish more leaders followed these guidelines. All too often in the world of education, we see leaders who cause disunity and disloyalty with their actions. This should be required weekly reading for Educational Leadership programs.
Cheers and thanks for sharing,

John Bossong  |  18 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Thank you for your comments. These are all Level 5 qualities / characteristics and universal really. So, your right, they would help Educational Leadership programs.

Best of luck finishing your MSE up at Arkansas Sate. Thanks again for the note.


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