Whilst they rarely say so in so many words leaders expect those with in their power circle to demonstrate loyalty. They expect that you will back them up and in various forums, you will tow the party line even when talking in confidence, what ever your private thoughts in public you will enthusiastically support their decisions.
Put another way as manager you are expected to own the decisions of the leadership and not to side step this by telling your staff/ subordinates that this is what the leader or chief executive has decided. The implication being you don’t necessarily agree your just the messenger.
The problem comes when the leader sees questioning of their decisions, even the expression of legitimate concerns, as disloyalty. So that even in a one to one meeting you are not expected to express any doubts. But you don’t owe your leader personal loyalty you owe them your honest opinion.Unfortunately this type of leader makes it very clear they don’t want to hear them and if you persist there will be consequences.
So people around the leader don’t give their honest opinion, they don’t tell the truth they “protect” the leader from the bad news and just tell them what they think they want to hear. Which explains why the leader is slow to act when the new computer system rather than increasing efficiency and providing more management information keeps crashing and as a result managers are having to run two systems the new one and the old one as a backup. The leader continues to force through the reorganisation unaware of the devastating impact on moral as people are required to apply for their own jobs or expected to take posts which don’t reflect their experience and skills.
The leader is told the new hot desking arrangements are delivering the office accommodation saving but not the level of resentment towards senior managers who have retained their large offices. Even something as simple as introducing new car parking arrangements can provoke a revolt where the leader is unaware of the strength of feelings until protesting employees park in the spaces reserved for senior managers and board members.
Following the leader at the expense of your own integrity or through fear is the wrong kind of loyalty a consequence of the wrong kind of leadership which can only led to more bad decisions.