We often hear of followers who are disloyal to their leaders and a lot has been written about this. However I have been reading a book by Pst Van Moody called The people Factor which gives an interesting expose’ of leadership disloyalty. He writes about how David’s greatest sin was not his illicit relationship with Bathsheba (though that was an ugly sin itself) but his disloyalty to a loyal friend Uriah.1 Kings 15:5 says, “David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life – except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.” One thing that I have observed is that often leaders or visionaries expect loyalty from followers and yet they themselves are not loyal to their followers. He chronicles a case study of this relationship and draws some powerful principles which I share with you today as follows:
Principle One: A disloyal leader holds others to a standard he is not personally willing to meet. He judges others by their deeds and yet judges himself by his intentions. David inquires about Bathsheba and his servant tells him that she is a married woman then he send the servant to bring Bathsheba to his bed chamber. David expected his servant to obey him as king and yet he was disobedient to his own King. Disloyal leaders expect others to follow the rules and yet they themselves bend the rules at their convenience.
Principle Two: A disloyal leader does not fight for or with those who support and fight for him. Have you ever seen very loyal people who would die for the leader being disposed off as if they are nothing by leaders they have served faithfully for years? Disloyal leaders only stand by people when they are perceived to be assets but dispose of them at the earliest sign of the loyal follower being a potential liability. David was supposed to be fighting with his loyal troops and not be lazying at the palace. For all intents and purposes he had abandoned his army which was risking its life to protect his interests. Its amazing how often leaders sacrifice the very people who are loyal and risk their lives to protect the interests of the leader in favour of disloyal praise singers. Disloyal leaders fail to protect past heroes from ravageous wolves in form of Johny come latelies (mafikezolo)?
Principle Three: A disloyal leader is more concerned about his own self interests rather than the corporate purpose and vision. Disloyal leaders sometimes sacrifice their legacy and their vision for short term self interests. David taught his soldiers abstinence during war but when his lust for Bathsheba was aroused he betrayed the corporate cause. Leadership loyalty does not sacrifice people for personal gain.
Principle Four: A disloyal leader feels no sorrow over the loss of someone significant and shows no appreciation for that person’s past contributions to the leader’s vision. When David orchestrates Uriah’s death and receives word of that death he expresses no sorrow at all neither does he appreciate his past exploits. Disloyal leaders are unaffected by the loss of someone who was loyal and valuable. In contrast loyal leaders are saddened to lose those who have served them faithfully and are quick to express appreciation for the past contributions. They do not crucify those who helped and served them in the past. While disloyal leaders refuse to recognise the past benefit of the relationship that is now broken. They may even rewrite history to erase references to those who served them in the past. That is a sign of disloyalty in a leader.
Principle Five: Disloyal leaders want what they want so badly that they do not care who gets hurts as they pursue their desire. They sacrifice loyal followers on the altar of personal interest and dreams. They do not even consider the corporate good. They use people for selfish interests and self preservation. Uriah had served David faithfully and was so loyal that he is numbered among the mighty man of David. 2 Sam 23:8. Uriah was so loyal that when recalled from battle refuses to go home and enjoy his wife when the armies of Israel were at war? He had risked his life so many times for David and yet David is not bothered to hurt him by taking his wife and then having him killed. Such disloyalty! Worse still Bathsheba was the granddaughter of Ahithophel David’s trusted counsellor and friend for years. And yet David sacrifices that friendship in pursuit of his lust and self interest. Could it be possible that is why Ahithophel later betrayed David and joined Absalom’s revolt?
Principle Six: Disloyal leaders violate the principles for which you as a follower stand for. They have peverted value systems. They feel that since they are leaders they can live on different rules. They feel they are not subject to basic principles like respect and honour for the dignity of the followers. I have seen insensitive leaders abuse and dishonour followers and yet cry foul at the slightest sign of dishonour from their subordinates. They want submission but they are not submitted to higher authorities. They want honour and yet dishonour others.
Principle Seven: Disloyal people are not willing to give everything for a cause that is vital to you but expect you to give your everything to their own cause. David’s mighty men were willing to die for him but he was not willing to die for them. Uriah made David’s priorities his priorities but David did not give a hoot to what was important to Uriah!
This reading so shook me that I am re-evaluating my own leadership style and asking myself questions as to whether I am a loyal leader who is loyal to those who are under me. Would I give up my dreams for them? Before I require loyalty from my followers I should demonstrate and consistently continue to demonstrate loyalty to them whether they are with me or no longer with me! I think the greatest form of loyalty is honouring and appreciating the contributions of those who you sadly have to part ways with but were critical to your vision. Disloyalty to those leaving is a sure indicator that we will be disloyal even to those who are staying. So help me Lord!