Maverick Self-Development. Follow the Leader is a childhood game that has been played for decades. The game insists that there is one leader at the top or one leader that everyone else follows.
Are you that one leader?
If so, then consider how your actions and behaviours set the tone for your followers. Are you setting an example and modelling best practices, or are you creating obligated followers that are lulled into submission?
Can you tell the difference?
Maverick Leaders, being wilfully independent, is brilliant and inspiring when they are the only ones who need directions. However, as a Maverick Leader of others, you must pause, look around and ask critical questions to ensure your team is giving you what you need to hear. At the same time, you need to allow them to still feel able to share, be challenged, and push for results. Be careful to resist the urge to create a hierarchy that exists around you as the head master that, through no fault of your own, slowly erodes the confidence of your team members.
Don’t leave your team to wonder, “Why am I here if you are doing all the thinking for me?” or worse yet, “Just tell me what to do because clearly you know what you want already.”
These questions can lead to talent drain and exiting of your most talented individuals. Do not be deceived, even in times of a pandemic, that the talented team members will stay and take less because they are scared to leave. Do not be so independent as a Maverick that you believe that a talented team member will endure micromanagement, dismissiveness, or behavioural outbursts, because these are challenging times. The excuse only lasts so long until, what you say and what you do, has a gap so wide you can drive a semi-truck through it.
A mass exit of talented people will slowly creep into organisations whose leaders turn into managers. Managers become so micro-focused on insignificant tasks that team members get fed up and say, verbally or otherwise, “I am out of here.”
Avoid this trap, Mavericks.
Remain confident in what you do well and what others do well and then, let them do their jobs. Give them room and space to get it right and learn when they get it wrong. Now is the time to groom talent for the future. Allow those in your organisation who are the most talented, know they are wanted, needed, and valued. These three points are critical to retaining and sustaining top talent. Do not conflate the two ideas. Retaining talent means they stay. But if that talent merely exists and goes through the motions, unable or unwilling to thrive, innovate, challenge, and contribute, then their talent will not sustain them or your organisation or team.
Be ready to model the team member experience of what retaining and sustaining is within your organization. Use the five senses to engage different modalities of learners and create opportunities for meaningful connections. Even your introverts will appreciate meaningful connection to shift the picture of leadership from “Follow the Leader” to “Conscious Connections.”