I'm always being asked about Maverick Leadership styles by clients and individuals who are fascinated by the way that Mavericks lead. Laymen assume that there is one Maverick Leadership style, often quoting Steve Jobs or Richard Branson. However, by doing this there are missing the nuances of Mavericks, and the fact that both these Mavericks lead in different ways.
This is because there are different types of Mavericks.
Readers familiar with my book, The Maverick Paradox: The Secret Power behind Successful Leaders will be aware that maverickism is a journey.
This explains why their leadership styles were so different and the fact that there was also a consistent overlap.
The overlap is where their Maverick nature meets.
(The following is an excerpt from The Maverick Paradox: The Secret Power Behind Successful Leaders. My book was published in early 2017)
Socialised and Extreme Mavericks tend to use different leadership styles, which can appear similar in outcome, even though they differ wildly in maverick intent. Extreme Mavericks favour a highly charismatic leadership style, whereas Socialised mavericks prefer a transformational leadership style. Both types of leadership styles inspire and motivate their team members, but their focus is different. Transformational leaders, transform their teams and their organisations (or environment), and charismatic leaders are more concerned with themselves and ensuring that their situation and environment suits their purposes. They may not want to change anything and may resist, any suggestion of change.
Extreme Maverick's Leadership style - Charismatic in nature
Charismatic leaders encourage certain behaviours by dint of their powerful personality, ability to persuade and their eloquent communication. Whilst their communication may not be objectively eloquent it is perfect for their preferred audience. It depends on their values and morality whether the charismatic leader is positive or negative in their influence.
The Extreme Maverick is a master of body language and is driven by his wilful intention and honest belief. He can use referent, expert, and coercive power effectively. He connects well with people (normally on a deep emotional level) on first meeting, he is charming and whilst you are talking to him you believe that you are very important to him. He is encouraging and makes you feel special and appreciated.
It is important to remember that this type of leader will change his rhetoric depending on the audience he is with at any given time. The Extreme Maverick will use emotional arguments especially if he is challenged on his logic and cannot win. Being charming, for him, is just another form of (emotional) manipulation, and therefore often eclipses rational arguments.
This type of maverick is not concerned with changing the status quo, unless it's to his advantage. He has a need to be listened to and worshipped, and can rapidly become either a situational narcissist or psychotic narcissist. He does not accept challenge easily and can be quick to discredit others if it means he gets ahead.
Charismatic leaders tend to be more concerned with themselves than other people, although you may need to pay rapt attention to notice this. They tend to form a tight group of followers around them, who are totally aligned to the Extreme Maverick. To be part of the group is to be a projection of the Extreme Maverick. You come under his protection and believe everything he says.
Once he has his group, he will start to distinguish between 'us and them', ensuring that his group are aware that they are superior to others. With a huge ego and self-efficacy, the Extreme Maverick will often ignore warnings to cease their behaviour. This is because most people will not give him a compelling reason to change. The inherent danger with charismatic leaders is that they begin to need the adoration that they are subjected to and become a situational narcissist, intolerant of challenge and changing their behaviour to one that they believe merits worship or infallibility from their audience.
Socialised Maverick's Leadership style - Transformational in nature
There are many similarities between charismatic and transformational leadership. The key difference is the focus of the leader and his intention. Socialised Mavericks have no need to be adored or worshipped, they lead because they want to transform the status quo. They want to develop their followers, and empower them to become Maverick Behaviourists.
They also present a clear vision to inspire and encourage theirs to achieve. Extreme Mavericks tend not to waste their time inspiring others as they use the power of their personality to enforce change.
Socialised Mavericks, like Extreme Mavericks can also have a charismatic style, be influential and engaging with others. However, they work with or for their followers rather than rearranging things solely for their own benefit. Socialised Mavericks see this rearrangement as unethical. They understand that they are role models and that their followers emulate them.
If you want to read more about Maverick Leadership or how the Maverick Paradox is the Secret Power Behind Successful Leaders then get the book here: