Loyalty: A Virtue or Vice?

Tese Stephens, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE

Lately I have been pondering the impact our personal values have on our decisions and behaviors.  My resilience research, especially the exploration of Holocaust survivors’ and veterans’ stories, has led me to realize just how much we act/react based on what we value.  I have often led students in a values learning exercise to assist them in identifying their purpose.  Most people will list the values they “want or hope” to possess, but we know from the evidence that many people are not fully aware of the values that truly drive their behaviors.

During my exploration of generational differences in the workforce, it has become apparent that those of my generation (baby-boomers) and older, typically place “loyalty” as a top value.  This is not true for the millennials and younger generations.  Loyalty is viewed as a positive trait and many leaders have been known to make decisions based on this…

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