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A Moderate Point of View: Loyalty to the Institution (Country) versus Loyalty to the Person (Leader)? A Choice of Conscience and Courage!!

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Added: Monday, November 18th 2019 at 5:36pm by AMODPOVW
Category: News & Issues
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"I love the Name of Honor, More Than I Fear Death"

                                                                                          Julius Ceasar


From time to time in our lives we face some of the most unusual of situations.  Some people will refer to these difficulties as trials.  For me one of the most difficult of these situations to navigate while at the same being one of the easiest to decide upon was when I had to choose between loyalty to the Insitution and loyalty to Man.  It was simple decision for me....I always chose Institution.

Maybe it was the religious part of me...but whenever faced with that choice (and there were several times in my life when I had to choose) I always went back to my Bible Teachings....Psalm 146: 3-5:

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. 4  His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. 5  Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.

In short my Granny taught me....man can let you down, but God never fails.....and if you base your principals and values upon Godly ideals, then you can never go wrong.  Even if you loose....if you truly believe you acted in a just and righteous way, than you can live with yourself.  That was always an important thing with her.....make sure you can live with yourself after any decision you make.  She would constantly remind you, that all you have is your reputation, and to put it in the hands of someone else....is to loose control of your soul.

So what does all of that have to do with loyalty?  It's simple, sometimes you will be asked to swear loyalty or swear an oath to something and you should never do or take that lightly.  As children....we were not allowed to use the word "swear", because to swear to something was to make a serious commitment.  A commitment that you would be expected to keep.  In my life time I have taken several "Oaths" and only one "Oath of Allegence".  I took all of them seriously and to the best of my ability have kept them all.

Sometimes those "Oaths" have conflicted with request made of me by others.  I will give you an example, during my 22 years in the Military I only had two Commanders (one at the Company and one at the Battalion Level) who ever asked me for my loyalty in a personal way.  Each of them was completely shocked when I informed them that I did not owe them any personal loyalty, that I had sworn an oath to the United States of America and that if they asked me to do anything that in accordance with regulation than they did not have to worry about my loyalty.  I informed them both that it was an insult to even ask that of me.

In the case of the Company Commander (he happened to be the Godfather of my Son) he understood and we had no problems.  In the case of the Battalion Commander, we never got along and he ultitmately had me reassigned.  But I saw others have their careers ruined during that period as they agreed to do things that were not in accordance with regulation out of a sense of loyalty to this particular person.  When he went down because of a Sexual Harrassment Charge, he took some of those people down with him.

I faced the same situation in the Private Sector also.  When serving as the Director of a Vocational Program in Downtown Baltimore, the President of the Company asked me to sign off on some Vouchers for Tools that had not be received ( I have mentioned this in another Post), I refused to do so and resigned my position the next day.  There are sometimes where loyalty to the individual or his/her request for loyalty should always cause you to examine your own values.

Now let me make it clear!  I do not endorse remaining in a position where you cannot carryout the intent or will of the person in charge.  If that persons positions run so counter to yours that you cannot in all good conscious carryout their policies than the honorable thing to do is resign.  Do not stay and be a disruptive influence....do the honorable thing and resign.  But while you are there...never compromise your values for someone else out of a sense of loyalty.  Thats not being courageous!

Whenever I have been in a leadership position whether it be in the Military, Education or Coaching I have always informed my subordinates of what I call the "Three Choice Rule".  If asked to do something, or given an order or directive you have three choices'

1) Say yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir and execute the directive

2) Say, Sir I have a concern, voice your concern and if the directive or order is not changed, salute and say yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir and execute the directive.

3) Say, Sir I have a concern, voice your concern and if the directive or order is not changed, say I am sorry Sir I cannot in all good conscious carry out that Directive....here is my immediate resignation!

No where in that do you ever tell your superior that you are not going to do something.  But under no circumstance do you compromise your principals.  Remember, there is always a tomorrow! (smile)

User Comments

Reading this and I'm saying in no way life should be that rigid that you have to perform like you are in the military. Sometimes you've got to let your hairdown and just do it your way.

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