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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Leadership Principles: The Reciprocal Law of Loyalty

Our Leadership Principles blog series is inspired by David's book "It's How You Play the Game: The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith." If you would like to receive this book, please go here. Loyalty. Defined as “a strong feeling of support or allegiance.” Synonymous with words like faithfulness, devotion, dedication, commitment. The law of reciprocity says whatever you give out, you get back. My mom used to say it this way, “If you want to have friends, be a friend!” This law is expressed in God’s original intent and design for humanity. You reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7). Draw near to God and he will draw near to you (James 4:8). In fact, Jesus himself said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). He knew that if you extend mercy to others you will receive mercy in return when you need it. So if we were to think of the reciprocal law of loyalty in the same way, it would be something like this: if you want to experience the loyalty of others, be loyal. I had the honor to play basketball for Coach Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was one of the best leaders ever to walk the planet. He instilled so much wisdom into his players that I have carried into my life. In fact, I wrote a book exploring the leadership principles I learned from him entitled, “It’s How You Play the Game.” Over the next two weeks, I want to share some of the leadership principles that Coach Smith taught me with you. Coach Smith cared more for you as a person than a player. He lived out the reciprocal law of loyalty. He wrote players a personal note every single Christmas. That’s dozens of personal letters over 36 years of coaching. He was always available for a phone call to help you, even if you played for him twenty years ago. In his will after his death, he even left each one of his lettermen a check for $200. The letter to each of us told us to have “dinner on me.” Do you want to know what made his players play so hard for Coach Smith? We knew how committed he was to us. And we returned that commitment to him on the court. Chances are there is somewhere in your life where you are a leader. You may lead your family, your children, a company, a client, or some other initiative. As a leader, how are you doing with loyalty? Are you devoted? Are you faithful? If you aren’t doing these things, today is a new day! You can change and begin to sow seeds of loyalty to those around you. Then watch as you begin to reap what you sow!

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