global recruitment specialists
Managers as Mavericks
It is almost impossible to become a maverick; you are born to be one. Rosie Bailey, co-founder and principal consultant of people development consultancy OnTrack International, offers advice for the maverick Manager.
Mavericks have upsides and downsides for their organisations. They are essentially unorthodox, independent-minded, unconventional individuals and are free spirits who aren't bound by the rules which can stifle creativity and innovation. Their ability to think outside of the box can result in their organisation gaining competitive advantage.
They encourage their colleagues to think differently and force them to analyse why they do things as they do. They are constantly questioning, an essential skill in order to counteract organisational inertia, and can solve problems quickly and innovatively.
However, Mavericks do also have some serious potential downsides: they can disrupt teams, can be unmanageable and can deviate from the task. Their demonstrated behaviour can result in them being seen as aggressive, blunt, arrogant and even obnoxious. They may also appear to be lacking in empathy and emotional intelligence because of their forthright outspoken way of communicating. Meanwhile, their understanding of behavioural intelligence can be somewhat limited, producing a ‘Marmite' reaction in people around them: you love them or you hate them. There is no middle ground.
"Whether your good or bad tendencies come to the fore will often depend on the organisation as much as you the maverick."
Mavericks are unlikely to flourish in organisations that dislike conflict and who are more interested in efficiency than creativity. Or which are driven by decision-making achieved through consensus and who see individual egos as threatening. Instead, you need to find an organisation which relishes challenge, creativity, innovation and difference.
Innocent Drinks: A classic example
A classic example of this kind of organisation is Innocent drinks whose success has been built on cherishing the maverick Manager.
Mavericks will often struggle when leading a team as they dislike process, systems and procedures, all of which are an essential part of the Manager's toolkit.
However where the climate is right for the maverick to flourish they can build tight teams, who have immense levels of trust in their leader and who will move heaven and earth to enable their leader's ideas to come to fruition.
Indeed, the leader will allow the mavericks within their team to have space to fulfil their own maverick tendencies. This trust within the team is founded on everyone's acceptance of difference and how individual skills, approaches and competencies can make the whole so much stronger than the individual.
By Rosie Bailey
View the original inManagement article as .pdf:
Managers as Mavericks »
Want more great articles like this?:
Sign up for inManagement now »