Everyone is curious about the Maverick Continuum Journey™. This is an excerpt from my book, The Maverick Paradox: The Secret Power Behind Successful Leaders. Part 1 of the 3 part series can be found here. All excerpts first appeared in Training Journal.
© The Maverick Continuum Journey™, Judith Germain 2016
The true Conformist usually, has no desire to demonstrate the depth of determination or risk taking behaviour required, to progress their maverickism. They tend to admire the maverick and their results and resent the behaviour as and when it deviates from the norm.
Especially if the altered behaviour affects them.
The Conformist individual can easily be manipulated by the maverick, especially if they are overly keen to work within agreed rule boundaries and team cultures. The most common expression of a Maverick Behaviourist, is an individual who is, a conformist in their ‘home life’, but demonstrates Socialised Maverick behaviour in their work life.
The first two stations on the Maverick Continuum Journey™, Conformist and Maverick Behaviourist, indicate someone on the Maverick Continuum™ who could eventually or is currently demonstrating maverick traits. If the Conformist can demonstrate enough determination and risk taking in what they are doing, they may be able to behave in a maverick way in a limited facet of their lives.
It may surprise people that the Extreme Maverick is not shown at the end of the Maverick Continuum™. The reality is that it is common for their (emotional) development to be stunted at ‘Extreme Maverick’, because at this point of the Maverick Continuum™, extreme behaviour appears to be bringing several rewards.
Oft times it is only with a great deal of reflection or acknowledgement by someone the maverick respects and finds credible, that the Extreme Maverick realises that there are other, better ways to get what they want.
The Socialised Maverick retains their behaviour and attitudes in all areas of their life, having learnt how to soften their approach when speaking and dealing with Conformists.
It is possible for two Socialised Mavericks to work extremely well together, providing the right mix of innovation, risk taking and influence to make a substantial difference to the task in hand. They will typically focus on what needs doing to guarantee the success of the project and will forego the necessity to stroke their egos (which is essential for the Extreme Maverick) in preference to the timely execution of the task.
Two Extreme Mavericks can work together, especially if the task in question is short lived, although it is likely that they will find it very difficult. It is in their nature to fight for dominance of the task, and the glory of successful performance that it will bring, which could cause a damaging array of fallout.
However, if both mavericks can see that it is extremely beneficial for them to work together (there is significant reward) then for the duration of the mutual benefit they will co-operate and work together. It is likely that there will be very little trust between the two and as soon as it appears that one maverick can achieve dominance or control over the other, this opportunity will be taken, even to the detriment of successful completion of the task.
The Socialised Maverick has learnt that whilst influencing can be a much longer process than manipulation (at least in the beginning) it is infinitely more rewarding. It is more rewarding because by choosing to influence, the maverick is seeking the Conformist’s buy in. This makes it more likely that a ‘win/win’ situation can be obtained. An important consideration is that manipulation only works for a period of time; eventually other people decide to fight against you or to work under protest (therefore not at their best). It is not possible to get the best out of people by manipulation alone in the long term. People generally do not mind being influenced, if the influence is subtle and clearly for the greater good.
The interesting thing about the Socialised Maverick is that whilst (over a period of time) it can become the default behavioural response by the maverick; under pressure the maverick can slide into Extreme Maverick behaviour very easily. This can surprise, even distress, Conformists because it may appear that they have ‘awoken’ the maverick; and the subsequent behaviour of the maverick seems ‘unlike them’ or inconsistent.
What Conformists don’t realise is that there is often (at the point of conflict) an internal struggle between Socialised and Extreme behaviour within the Socialised Maverick. The inner dialogue of the maverick can be quite intense at this point, if the maverick has been behaving like a Socialised one for some time then it’s likely that Socialised behaviour is the one that will win out, eventually. Although the Socialised Maverick will not like it, feeling like they have compromised themselves for the greater good.
However, whilst the above holds true, this is not to assume that a Socialised Maverick will not demonstrate Extreme Maverick behaviour at times of excessive pressure (for the maverick).
We can be confident then, that a maverick is open to new experiences, preferring novel solutions and is a curious soul. They are highly organised and efficient when planning and executing new tasks. It is important to note, however, that this does not mean that they have a neat and tidy desk; this observation refers to their mind and thought processes. Whilst being able to think of the ‘big picture’, they do not neglect the small details. This can sometimes mean that they ensure obsessively that others implement the small details that they have planned.
Mavericks can be found anywhere on the extraversion scale and will be analytical and detached in their thinking. Only after the thinking process has ended will Socialised Mavericks temper their detachment with compassion and friendliness; for them any important action is a two-step process (detachment from the issue whilst analytically pondering over it, followed by considerations on the best way to implement the action. This is when thoughts about others, and how to influence them occur).
 © The Maverick Continuum Journey™ – Judith Germain 2016
When considering how maverick you are it's worth considering where you are on the Maverick Continuum Journey™. This is part 2 of my 3 part excerpt from my book. Part 1 can be found here.