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How to Be a Great Employee- Discussion

I am struggling with the general concept of how to be a "great employee" in the workplace, and would appreciate some anonymous commentary to help deliver to me considerable outside perspectives on the concept.

Growing up, I was always taught to be strong and to speak up whenever I felt something was wrong, or even just inefficient/could be done better. So, I do so often. When I was young, I argued ineffectively; I would lose my temper or become to emotional when trying to convey my points. I've since learned how to be much more even-keel and articulate, but I do still speak up or write-in to my management teams and/or coworkers often. I always thought this was a great aspect of myself and translated into my being a great employee.

Years have gone by and I've worked for a few different companies by now. What I'm learning now is that it is not good to express opinions in any manner, no matter how patient, understanding, or articulate I am in explaining my view points. I'm thinking that the best type of employee is one whom is naturally submissive and able to carry out directives autonomously, and does not provide feedback, arguments, or alternative view points, etc., because doing so impedes the efficiency of the company and frustrates and management.

I'm disappointed at this realization, and I don't I know how to proceed with my career. All I want is to be a terrific and effective employee for someone's company, but I think I struggle with the idea of staying quiet and remaining completely autonomous. What do I do? What are your opinions?