“Loyalty is almost always listed as a top virtue, like honesty and trustworthiness,” says Paul Sean Hill, author of Leadership from the Mission Control Room to the Boardroom.

But he hastens to disagree. He says personal loyalty doesn’t belong among the top three virtues – and maybe not even in the top 10. What matters is loyalty to the mission.

“Loyalty is a leadership trap. Or it can be if we’re not very deliberate about how we define and apply it,” he says.

Hill tells the story of working for a boss who wouldn’t give his boss helpful feedback because he didn’t want to appear disloyal.

Hill was shocked.

“Instead of a personal loyalty that looks like blind obedience, I was desperate to know the people who worked for me were going to speak up when they believed I was making a mistake,” he says. “The last thing I wanted to do was lead my team into failing to protect the astronauts’ lives or blowing a $500-million mission!”


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