Few years ago, I was appointed at the lead of a manufacturing plant. As part of my on-boarding, we organised an off-site with my directs report. A great chance for me to get to know them better and for them to know the person who was brought from abroad to lead them. One of the things I shared about me during that session was the “confession” of being a rebel.
I remember the puzzled faces of everybody not believing I actually was (am) a rebel. How someone in charge of compliance and quality assurance can be a rebel? Wasn't I always asking and reminding everyone about integrity (my dearest value)?
In my view the two are not in conflict and moreover there is a misunderstanding about rebels. Such misunderstanding might lead to poor management of this type of personalities and greater conflicts.
Do you want to hear from a rebel - actually I prefer the word maverick - how to deal with us?
We are not troublemakers. To be frank, being labeled as such is what might cause troubles. We don't shy away from risks, problems, conflicts, this is an invaluable asset that when properly fostered supports organisations to create better ways to work. What leads us to “rebel” is our desire to make things better. You might want to ask the mavericks in your organisation what they think would make the organisation a better place. We care enough to tell you and speak up. We feel is our responsibility to find ways to improve things. Support us by creating an environment where it is safe to disagree and challenge. Many believe that a workplace with little disagreement is a healthy workplace. I rebel to this assumption and believe instead that change rarely happens in absence of conflict. It’s not about disagreeing for the sake of it but rather about learning to make stronger decisions.
It was fundamental for my growth to keep in mind the “WHY” we do things. I continuously ask myself and the people around me why. Do you remember when you were a child and always asked why of everything? And moreover, do you remember why you asked why? It is because that is how our understanding of the world forms. It is because we need a vision. The one of us who continue asking why as adults, without a clear vision, might go off track more than the one who don't ask as many whys as we do. It’s important to clarify to us:
- desired outcomes,
Rather than putting us under interrogation ask coaching questions to help us think through, frame an idea so that it attracts support rather than objections. Help your mavericks to navigate the politics of an organisation and build alliances.
Don't give up on us because we challenge the status quo. I promise we are worth the effort! We are idea people, creative thinkers and problem solvers. Typically high potentials with very high flight risk. We embrace courage and take risks. Because of it if not well supported we might burn out. Trust that we aren't just endless questions and controversy. We are curiosity, commitment, and passion. Appreciate us and see rebelliousness as a positive behaviour.
It is challenging to manage a maverick and probably even more challenging to be managed by one. If you are led by one of us, be sure we will ask of you the same things we ask to our managers. We will give you a why and will challenge you on that same why. We appreciate to be challenged and hear things as they are. No lip service please!
I want to leave you with a question, reflect for a moment on what the world would look like without rebels. I am curious to hear from you. Please leave a comment or get in contact with us.