Guest Post by Kevin Jarvis

The workforce is full of many different types of employees. Some are leaders, some are followers; some tow the company line, while others like to challenge company policies and procedures. This last employee is known as a ‘maverick’. Dynamic, intelligent, progressive yet stubborn with a complete disregard for all forms of corporate authority, mavericks are the kind of employees that can catapult your business to the next level, but can also disrupt a harmonious team.

Maverick Employee

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Often making the decision to hire a maverick candidate is a difficult one. They are brilliant and innovative on one hand, yet are take-no-prisoners rule-breakers on the other. It is, therefore, important that when weighing up the pros and cons of hiring a maverick, you consider whether they are the right fit for your company.

Why You Should Employ A Maverick

Industries that require a constant stream of fresh ideas and approaches, such as the technology sector, marketing or advertising, are particularly well-suited to maverick personalities. Indeed, mavericks are employees who need little management direction and are often self-motivated to achieve goals.

If your business is looking for new ways to innovate or looking to head in a new direction then a maverick employee could be the right choice. They are essential for innovation due to their tendency to think and act differently from the crowd. As innovators, they also love to shake things up and people such as Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have all been labeled as mavericks at one point in time by their competitors and the media.

Why You Should Not Employ A Maverick

On the flipside, if your business needs unity to build on what is an already working business strategy, then a maverick could be a spanner in the works. The reason is mavericks are often highly independent and their strong wills can clash with fellow employees and employers. These traits can make it very difficult for them to work well in a team or to conform to standard company policies.

That said, according to a study published in the British Journal of Psychology, maverick-type employees can also have a positive effect on the group. Sometimes they are the spark needed to light the fuse on innovation and can encourage other employees to be creative and suggest ideas.

Indeed, while mavericks have a reputation of being difficult employees, this is not always the case. With the appropriate checks and balances in place, a maverick can become a rock star employee for your company. If you are a recruiter or an employer here are some quick tips to managing a maverick employee:

–       Set behaviour barriers and outline expectations around company policy

–       Do not micromanage, yet ensure your position of authority is respected

–       Give consistent feedback

That said, employers need to consider the industry and type of work involved when hiring a maverick. Ultimately it all depends on your business needs and workplace culture.

Guest Author

Kevin  JarvisKevin Jarvis, Director – New South Wales, Robert Half. Originally from Southampton in the UK, Kevin has 17 years of finance, accounting and project recruitment experience.  Kevin joined Robert Half in October 2001 in the London West End office, before moving back to Sydney in 2003 to manage and grow the Australian business. After heading up the Management Resources division, Kevin led the start-up of our first Robert Half Technology business in Australia.  He was subsequently promoted to Director of Sydney in 2009, and quickly took over managing the wider office network in New South Wales in 2010.