productivityA COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO I talked about how generosity brings loyalty.  Well, it’s time to take this to the next level!

Employees who are loyal stick around.  OK, that’s pretty basic; it’s kind of the definition of “loyal.”

Why do they hang with you through good times and bad?  Because they figure they’re doing something valuable, and they enjoy it.

Now, your folks like their work for multiple reasons.  Maybe it’s the people they work with.  Maybe it’s the challenge inherent in the work.  Or even the fact that you show appreciation.

But people also want to do work which has some importance for them.  That might mean a larger purpose, or some very personal attachment.

When these factors align, you get productivity.  Your worker is motivated, capable, and in a virtuous cycle of positive feedback.  From you, from customers, from their peers.

Productivity at the personal level is OK, but not sufficient to grow a great business.  For that, you need all your folks to be pulling in the same direction.  Each will be productive on their own, AND the overall group results will be magnified as well.

Is it possible to have an employee who’s too loyal?

You’ve run into this person:  You know them well and respect them, but can’t possibly let them go because of the personal relationship.  Their effective productivity is zero or even negative, yet you’re struggling to give them the right feedback.

It’s difficult, yes.  But you’re not really serving someone by keeping them in a position where they aren’t effective.  Do you really think they aren’t smart enough to figure it out?

So work with this person.  Understand and empathize with their needs.  Search out ways for them to deliver value.

And if that doesn’t work, help them to move on to another employer where they can shine.

Because great relationships really do matter.