Unleashing the full capacity of your people

Engaged Employees Honor the Pursuit of Truth – And You Should Value That Trait

Great employees who contribute at a high level are not usually “Yes Men.” Instead, they tell the truth about conditions within and without the organization from their perspective. They aren’t always right, and they are willing to admit that, too.

Darmesh Shah HubSpot CTO

Darmesh Shah HubSpot CTO

What got us to thinking about how truly loyal employees “speak truth to power (nicely but firmly!)” was this quote from Darmesh Shah, CTO of Marketing Agency HubSpot.* It was the lead-in to a post on LinkedIn about how he measures true employee loyalty:

“Where employees are concerned, loyalty has nothing to do with blind obedience, or unthinking devotion, or length of tenure.”

The key point to remember: “Yes Men” are not as valuable to you as “Truthsayers.” A Yes Man may appear loyal, but it is a misplaced loyalty that focuses on keeping you happy in the moment, at the expense of long-term organizational success. Truthsayers, those willing to express support in the form of constructive criticism, have much more value because they are willing to challenge the status quo and shake up business conversations by questioning assumptions and asking whether past experience is a good indicator of future events.

Shah shared some of the measures by which he assesses his version of loyalty. We edited them down to a shorter list here:

  • They display loyalty through integrity rather than obedience.
  • They generate discussions others will not, willing to be wrong, and deal with the feedback if they are proved wrong.
  • They tell you what you least want to hear, if they think that is what you need to hear.
  • They praise their peers publicly (and regularly!)
  • They support final decisions in public, even if they disagree with them. Once the group decides on a direction, the loyal employee works hard to make it work out, rather than undermining the project or process in an effort to say “I told you so.”

Shah cites the Inverse Rule of Candor as a problem that truly loyal employees disregard: That rule states that the greater the difference in “rank,” the less likely an employee will be to openly take a different position. We agree:  A great employee exhibits loyalty by being candid to all members of the organization.

Do you see an echo of our Pursuit of Truth mindset in all of this? We do!

How are you currently measuring loyalty in your employees and peers? Does it look like Shah describes it? Do you still need to encourage more Pursuit of Truth among those you work with?


*We have quoted Shah a few times in the last couple of months. Turns out he shares a lot of our philosophy about how to engage employees and unleash their full contribution.

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