The current culture of the Church involves a lot of committee work where movement happens only after consensus is reached on most points. Consider, the ideal Stake Presidency acts on any significant point only (a) if they all agree and (b) with complete outward unity. That set of values reflects those above them. The leadership culture of the Church in Salt Lake also involves a large group of men who generally find each other supportive and pleasant company, yet who spend much of their time on road trips ministering to a greatly expanded Church.
If you think of any criticism of any core church leader in the past fifty years that has percolated out from the top, you won’t find criticism of competence, scope or anything but those who acted without consensus. Consider Ezra Taft Benson or others. No one criticized his competence, no matter how sick he got. His only criticism was for his perceived taking of positions without consensus behind them. (Though I would note that the way Spencer W. Kimball kept being written off as terminal and then coming back to full competence probably had an effect on how ETB was treated. His presidency in the later stages also gave people significant amounts of experience and training time that would have been denied them had it terminated earlier).
To understand better both our leaders and ourselves, you need to realize that we have a culture where the only two sins against the culture (that are experienced by those at a high level) are acting outside of consensus and failing of public unity (~ to criticize others publicly). That brings some focus to those who are surprised at the reaction they get when they make a private criticism public or where someone engages in public disunity. You can see the same thing mirrored in the large blogs — how many are happy to have any public disunity?
The biggest counter-force to unity in the leadership of the Church is individuals who try to push doctrines or programs without consensus. There really isn’t any other source for disruption of unity. For an example, think of Bruce R. McConkie on Blacks and the Priesthood or Evolution for a good example of someone trying to establish an opinion as doctrine (cf Mormon Doctrine, the book). Anyone living who pushes a doctrine even though the Church as firmly stated it does not have a position is cross-wise and part of that cultural force that goes against the current ethos.
To understand the source of cross currents, it is important to acknowledge that most people who spend a great deal of time thinking about the gospel come to conclusions about some doctrines. Most people who spend a great deal of time administering the gospel either find that many doctrinal questions do not seem as important as ministering to people, or that they find a need to correct and expand doctrine. So you have two types of evolution — those who see a need to correct or expand in a doctrinal area and those who find themselves putting people ahead.
Keep that in mind and think where that takes you in dealing with the hierarchy of the Church. Share a private criticism — you just made whoever shared it with you a party to a gross social breach (they’ve just become a party to public disunity through your sharing). Push a doctrine where consensus is lacking — you’ve just joined a counter-force to unity that is the only real disruption to the equanimity and supportive love that is generally shared.
It is an interesting social dynamic. Understanding it is important to making sense of the narratives we all experience in dealing with those who lead us.