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Loyalty up and down the chain

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- It never ceases to amaze me  how successful the U.S. Air Force  is. We have the most motivated and well-trained Airmen in the world. We are fortunate to have
the support of our countrymen as well as incredible technology. Inherent in our ability to succeed is the loyalty that we must show both up and down the chain of command. 

Webster's defines loyalty as  "faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc." Singling out the word "leader" in that definition implies loyalty flows up the chain of command. 

But how does a leader build that support and turn subordinates into devoted followers? By providing a vision, maintaining standards and proving him or her
worthy of support. 

Loyalty down the chain of command is as important as up the chain. Most of us have probably worked in organizations with bosses more concerned about their own career advancement than the welfare of their section. 

What happened? Maybe a lot of grumbling, low morale and long days at the office. Those who have been fortunate enough to work for bosses loyal to them probably were excited to go to work and felt the 0 days fly by. 

In a former life, I worked for a company that had minimal loyalty up and down the chain. Management was all about the bottom line - a necessary reality in the corporate world. 

Workers were mainly concerned about their paycheck and less concerned with company performance. Weekly, the two entities would send e-mail  "blasts" highlighting the failings of the other side. Management berated the worker's union for not being team players; the union highlighted management mistakes to the point of making them look
criminal. 

In the end, most workers didn't think the managers were truthful and management didn't trust the workers. Days were long and it became a chore to wake up every day to go to work. 

That is absolutely not the case in the Air Force. Success starts with loyal bosses devoted to their Airmen and willing to do what it takes to get the mission done. It continues with dedicated, motivated Airmen who show that "faithful adherence" Webster talks about. Units that empower their people with responsibility give them the resources and the tools they need have the greatest success. 

What's the bottom line? 

In the words of Donald T. Regan, 66th United States Secretary of the Treasury, "You've got to give loyalty down, if you want loyalty up."