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A Leader's Guide to Protecting Mavericks

Summary: Most managers have had experience with a maverick, the person who refuses to play by the rules of the game and who can easily disrupt the organization. But properly handled, the maverick can bring about new ways of looking at old problems and can recreate the kind of entrepreneurial spirit associated with the organization's origins. Mavericks are more interested in the results of their efforts than in receiving credit. Once the mavericks are identified, the most important element for their success is protection from a bureaucratic hit person. Protection is particularly important for a proto-maverick who may lack a mature understanding of the organization's politics and structure. The Mentor of Mavericks (MOM), who may be a senior executive who had at one time been a maverick or a manager eager to bring about change, is most effective working from a position of perceived neutrality. MOMs are masters of metaphor, using stories, jokes, and other indirect means of getting the message across. MOMs organize the mavericks, position them in strategic locations throughout the organization, and help them maintain a low profile. Like a great military commander, the MOM realizes that a powerful connection to others in the organization, not concern for the company's mission statement or the price of its stock, is the prime motivator that can make an organization great.

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  • Topics: Human Resources, Leadership
  • Keywords: High performance organizations,Human resources (HR),Mentoring,Management styles,Leadership,Employee relations,Employee satisfaction,Entrepreneurship
  • Author: Cheverton, Richard
  • Journal: Journal for Quality and Participation