A well disciplined staff is great for piece of mind, but when it comes to sparking new ideas, innovation and challenging the status quo, you need a good sprinkling of rebels.
One of the biggest challenges of successful companies is that they employ people who are able to do their job to a high standard, respectfully listen to direction and execute well. We all need people like this to work for us, but the trouble with cultivating a workforce that is solely based on these kinds of people, means you begin to become satisfied with your lot.
Challenging the status quo
It’s often thought that innovation comes from angry and driven people. The innovator is not happy with her lot. She is impatient for change. And this can be a problem for successful companies. The natural satisfaction that people derive from success can lead to complacency, which is the enemy of innovation. This is why the innovative leader always engenders a healthy dissatisfaction with the status quo. It’s about maintaining your edge and not resting on your laurels.
These people don’t display a lack of respect, but a lack of defence, a lack of inhibition, a lack of conventional ways of thinking that comes through traditional forms of education and training. Earning meaningful and long lasting respect from your fellow colleagues is done through the values, convictions and beliefs you stand for, not your place in the hierarchy. Strength of conviction is something employees value, and it displays good leadership.
Channelling their creativity
How can you harness the energy of your mavericks? How can you turn negative energy into positive? The answer is to throw down a challenge. Rebels can be very critical so turn the situation around and ask them how they would do things better. Don’t get into an argument with them. Take their ideas on board. Praise them for good proposals. Encourage them to find new and better ways to do things. Thank them for their criticisms but insist that they make positive suggestions too.
During the interview process, it’s often the case that people take a liking to those that respectfully agree with them. This is the flattery trap. Hire someone with attitude, someone who is prepared to disagree with you and challenge your views. Observe as they come up with inventive ideas or creative solutions. Hire the people with unusual interests and hobbies. Creative people do creative things in their spare time. Bland people watch TV.
Standing out from the crowd
Every revolution starts with a rebel. So if you want innovators in your team look for people with some particular bad attitudes – the ones with rebellious, contrary and divergent views. These are people who some might label as troublemakers. They are not negative or cynical – on the contrary, they are passionate about their ideas. They do not defer to authority, they are dissatisfied with the status quo, they are impatient for change and they are angry about the obstacles put in their way. With a profile like that they should certainly stand out from the crowd.