It has been widely reported since the inception of Donald Trump's campaign for the presidency that loyalty is the quality he values most in those who work for him. This was the case in his business career and is also the case in his new administration. Trump, for example, reportedly was irked when FBI Director James Comey, whom the president later fired, would not pledge his loyalty to him.
This obsession with loyalty surprised and puzzled me because it was altogether absent from my own experience in public administration. I was a local-government manager for 38 years, including 29 as a city manager. Employee performance, including hiring, firing, promoting and demoting, was a subject I attended to every day of those 38 years. Never once did I encounter an employee-performance issue that involved loyalty or a lack thereof. It never occurred to me to ask for loyalty, to evaluate in terms of loyalty or to even raise the subject.