'How to manage maverick employees?' is a cry that our clients ask often. Whilst the Maverick is a complex creature, managing them isn't a complex matter!

It does require fortitude, honesty, determination and courage! This may be the reason why so many people struggle - Mavericks will not follow someone who is unable to be honest and has little integrity. Socialised Mavericks will not follow someone who does not work for the greater good and has a poor reputation - not even for a second!

The following is an excerpt from my book The Maverick Paradox: The Secret Power Behind Successful Leaders 

How managers harness the maverick power of their mavericks

An overview

Mavericks are aware of the power that they wield and as such are reluctant to use this power for just anyone. Extreme Mavericks will only consider using their maverick power if they will receive sufficient personal gain (this does not necessarily mean financial, influence may be an acceptable currency). Socialised Mavericks are willing to lend their maverick power to a good manager or leader especially if they believe in and respect them.

Even if the maverick is not prepared to lend their maverick power to their manager, they will still perform well for them if treated properly. Managers are often confused or oblivious as to how they can harness maverick power. They believe that their positional, reward or coercive power will be enough to ensure that the maverick will work for them in the manner that the manager is expecting.

It's a common belief that managers need to manage everyone in the exact same way for the sake of consistency and fairness. Whilst this view is incorrect and ineffective most of the time, it is 'fatal' when applying to mavericks, especially Extreme Mavericks. If you treat mavericks in the same way as everyone else, then you are likely to manage a department that is full of disruption and resentment; usually caused by the actions of the maverick himself.

To effectively harness maverick power, from the perspective of a manager, you will need to follow the seven guiding principles in the infographic below:


How to manage maverick employees is a cry that is often made. Complex creatures, often need complex solutions.

However, the core of the issue can be surprisingly simple:

  • Be someone who can be trustworthy and engender trust
  • Recognise their skills and give autonomy
  • If you want change - give a compelling reason

The only way to manage a maverick is to recognise their maverickism and understand how to harness it.

The Maverick Paradox: The Secret Power Behind Successful Leaders can show you how.


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