Years ago a friend of mine moved to a new department within his company and got a bad boss. The boss was not really a bad person, but had no clue at all what leadership means.
My friend was very bright and highly motivated to work hard and to change the way how things were done inefficiently in the department. One example: every one kept the information for himself. There is no central data base for things with common interests. And if you need some information, you need to go to certain person to get it, again and again.
But his boss felt threatened by the dynamic guy, and stopped everything the young man initiated. The boss told him that he was not entitled to do such things, because that was the job of the boss.
Slowly the young man realized that he would go no where with his ideas, energy and initiatives and decided to imitate the way how his "good" colleagues were doing, namely just followed the orders of the boss and did exactly what was told. The relationship between him and his bosses had improved. There were no argues any more. The department was doing the same thing with the same inefficiency as before.
In the year end review however, the performance of the department was moderate and the boss got a warning from his boss. He called every one in the department afterwards and tried to motivate them to do more next year. After he called my friend in his office, he told him: “Your performance is moderate. You do everything well what was told ONLY. But you can do much more. Why didn’t you take more initiatives?”