Are You Using This Approach to Coach Your Maverick Employee?

BY Kathy Crosett
Featured image for “Are You Using This Approach to Coach Your Maverick Employee?”

Do you have an employee on the team who’s constantly coming up with suggestions and ideas that don’t mirror your own? Using the right sales coaching platform will help you get the most from your maverick employee. Some managers might feel these employees are deliberately and regularly challenging their authority. And they go on to squelch these maverick employees. That approach might not be the best strategy for your team.

The Value of Mavericks

When you’re working with your team, it’s easy to fall into the habit of group think. Team members, over time, learn how their co-​workers and their supervisor think. Many employees don’t want to rock the boat by suggesting new approaches to old problems. They don't want to seem any different from their co-​workers and seek to keep the existing process running smoothly.

On occasion, a maverick will come along. When you're looking for a new rep, you may want to hire a maverick. Scott Cowen, president emeritus of Tulane University, points out that the maverick doesn't accept group think. They are the ones in the room asking, “Let’s think about why this may not be a good idea.” Their out-​of-​the-​box thinking can lead you and your team to consider different solutions to a problem. And some of their unconventional thinking could result in the development of game-​changing and disruptive solutions. 

When you hire a maverick, the results of any sales skills assessment you have them take will point to differences. For example, this person may not be a perfect fit with respect to how you think and communicate. But if you go into the employment situation with your eyes wide open, you can benefit from their unique point of view. This could be especially true if you are launching a new solution which is aimed at an audience your organization hasn't sold to previously.

The Challenges of Managing Mavericks

If you hire a maverick, be prepared to spend time coaching them. If you’ve got a maverick on your team, they might not always understand why their co-​workers reject their thinking. For some mavericks, communication style is the issue. When they express their ideas, they may put people off by insisting they are right. Other mavericks may get easily frustrated and pull back when co-​workers don’t quickly support a radical idea. At that point, they can slip into lone-​ranger mode and possibly exhibit toxic behavior as identified by the TeamTrait™ assessment system.

To keep that from happening, help your maverick by supporting their ideas in meetings and encouraging group discussion about them. Make sure they respectfully listen to co-​workers’ questions and possible objections. Don't allow them to belittle anyone else's ideas. 

Help them understand that you have the organization’s best interests at heart. Along with introducing their unique ideas, mavericks should make a sincere effort to develop stronger bonds with their co-​workers. Good teamwork will generate more engagement across the board.