Learn to love ‘renegade’ employees

A hybrid approach to leadership harnesses the talents of risk-takers while continuing to nurture team builders
By Dennis LaRosee
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/20/2004

There are some people who produce their best work by building relationships with other people. In essence, they think out loud. They gather colleagues around to help them form their ideas more fully, and they do their best work in groups. In situations in which their talents and expertise are critical to the success of a new program, companies should place these people in teams charged with long-range strategic planning or research and development.

Then there are the mavericks. These are people who prefer to act as “venturers” — they become energized when they are driving change and they are willing to confront their colleagues in order to achieve it. When companies are facing a cataclysmic situation, such as reduced market share due to a competitor’s new technology, these people should be put in charge of building and leading short-term crisis management, product management or marketing teams.

Their value lies not so much in the ability to assemble a group of experts, but in being able to quickly synthesize a team’s viewpoints and then charge forward. When fast action is in order, venturers cut through complexity and maintain momentum even with ambiguous decision-support information. In a crossroads situation, they are critical to a company’s immediate and long-term future.