One of my major career regrets is having to implement management decisions with a tight smile and clenched teeth. It's never been my nature to be an asshole - and my Appalachian upbringing didn't exactly provide a bundle of self-confidence. So my #1 priority over the years was to ensure that my family had a roof and 3 squares a day. That meant keeping a paycheck coming in to cover the mortgage.

I'm at a point where I can review my various employers and recognize mediocrity when I see it. The most common characteristic of each was a lack of interest in ideas - and dissent - bubbling up from the front lines.

If you are fortunate to be picked for a leadership position, I beg of you: *PLEASE* obligate your team to debate, disagree and to feel comfortable doing so. Best-in-class performance comes from having a diversity of opinions.

Original (TED)