The greatest gift a leader can gift himself or herself, is to present oneself with a team who have the freedom to disagree with the leader.

“Sir, I don’t agree with your views!” is a statement one should welcome in a meeting, whether it’s government, corporate or religious. Because that disagreement is founded on a thought that has already been expressed, which means that the thought has moved forward, and whatever comes out of that debate which follows, will be a deeper, wider and broader viewpoint.

If there are ten people at the meeting, it is the collective intelligence of ten, instead of just one.

History books will tell you without hesitation that such combined thinking has always moved the world forward.

Rulers of yore who had their cabinet filled with ‘yes men’ soon found themselves on the streets.

One mistake we make is to mistake a strong man as one who takes no advice but his own. On the contrary, that is a weak person. His insecurity makes him feel that any contradiction to his views is a personal affront.

No, it isn’t, and the day, he or she is willing to just listen and agree or disagree later. Is able to use debate to try and convince opponents, then that man or woman is on his or her way towards being a strong leader.

A strong leader will allow people the freedom to disagree.

A weak leader clamps down on those who do so.

To find out how the greatest nation in the world reached that pinnacle, one has only got to open one’s books of history and see debates that fashioned great thought.

To understand this even further, one has to accept that each of us is blessed by our creator with different gifts that mould our belief systems. A businessman who has come up by his britches, may feel that hard work is the only way to success and looks down on handouts and freebies, whereas someone who was helped with a scholarship or financial grant, will most probably have a compassionate heart to help the less fortunate as he was helped.

These two minds will collectively shape an idea that can better society. And if it’s ten minds, more ideas and a better design. All this comes through argument, debate and convincing.

But when a company or country starts curbing the freedom to disagree, then comes a quick and steady decline of that body.

“Sir, I don’t agree with your views!”

“Come to Delhi, sit with me, and let us listen to one another!”

That is the only way forward. Any other route spells disaster, as we are slowly seeing..!

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