Inspiring And Enabling People
To Make A Difference
Times have changed.
Highly skilled and talented employees are at a premium and they are becoming increasingly harder to work with. They want the highest salaries and the maximum flexibility. They want to work the hours they define and in the way that they want. They want recognition for their expertise and respect for their talents from their peers and the people that manage them. When they are not challenged and stretched appropriately their resultant boredom tends to find a destructive outlet for their talents
The struggle for companies working from a 20th Century mindset is that this type of employee is a stark contrast to the rest of the workforce. I call this group Troublesome Talent™ and I find it is typically as much as one fifth of the talent pool. Not only do they believe that the rules do not apply to them, they often cause a myriad of problems for the company. Criticised for their arrogance (or is it high self confidence?), their rudeness (or is it just blunt honesty) their influence (destructive at times) they usually take a defensive stance or an entrenched position. This can lead to high employee turnover, increased claims of bullying and depressed team cohesion and performance. How expensive is it if a company chooses not to manage their maverick?
What makes a maverick? I define a maverick as being wilfully independent. Wilful independence – when used with the right intention – is what propels companies to success. Consider the success of the following maverick leaders, Richard Branson, Ricardo Semler, Jack Welch, Bill Gates, JFK and Martin Luther King. If you agree that it was their willingness to challenge the status quo, to stand up for what they believe in, to inspire and motivate others and to demonstrate true leadership that made them stand out from the crowd, then ask how you can create an environment for Mavericks to express the same skill.
The 21st Century solution
The 21st Century solution is to recognise that a culture of command and control doesn’t work effectively anymore. Once companies have made that determination, they begin to consider how to engage their employees in a more productive way. Is it better to do this by treating employees as individuals rather than a collective (the workforce), recognising how individual employees are motivated? How important is it to be seen not just to be providing lipservice to this approach? This individualistic approach requires the manager to consider not only how a team is motivated and influenced but the needs of each individual team member. This can mean that the manager with a maverick on his team will need to treat him quite differently from everyone else. That must be balanced between treating him in a way that is tailored for him and consistent when considered against how other employees are managed.
The key to managing a maverick is not to manage them! Leadership is the only way to succeed in harnessing the maverick talent. I believe that leadership is trusted influence. The ability to inspire and extend trust and to influence others positively is the true mark of a leader. Guide your maverick to be a better leader regardless of the position that they have within the company.
Isn’t leadership about trusted influence? If your most maverick employee becomes a more effective influencer what impact will that have on your business? How well is the most effective company in your market dealing with these issues?