Eight top leadership techniques for managing the team maverick

Lisa Bewick

Lisa Bewick, director at Firestarter People Solutions

A lot of the business owners I speak to, particularly those with sales teams, ask me about the best way of managing their high performers. But instead of helping them ride the wave of success, I’m often asked to advise on the conflict and difficulties that arise because of the methods the team maverick uses to achieve their results.

Disruption, non conformity, self promotion. Sound familiar?

Here’s my advice:

1. Expectation
As with all employment issues the contract is always key. Be clear about the kind of behaviour you expect from the start. Good contractual agreements that set out ‘norms’ (eg hours of working, sickness absence, misconduct, etc.) and outline expectations are always essential in any kind of employee relationship. It will also give you something to fall back on if you are unclear about whether an employee has crossed the line.

2. Communication
Clear and frequent communication is hugely important. Regular meetings with the individual and with the team as a whole are essential for letting everyone know what your expectations are and where they stand. It also provides a forum for discussing any issues openly and frankly if/when they arise. Also, learn to flex your communication style to the individuals concerned – for example, some team members may feel comfortable voicing concerns in an open forum, some may prefer a one-to-one.

3. Values
Ensure that your business has a strong team culture and clear values that are displayed and recognised by all. Refer back to these values at team meetings and in one-to-ones.

4. Consequences
Everyone is always interested in bonuses and rewards for performing well, but you should also be transparent about disciplinary procedures for breaching rules and obligations and how they are applied across the whole business.

5. Fairness
Always apply fair management to all team members, whatever the issue or situation.

6. Team ethos
It should be made clear that the team is always more important than any one individual. It’s the total sum of the collective effort that breeds success, not any one individual. Make every team member feel valued and they will be more likely to perform to the very best of their abilities.

7. Strong leadership
This is the most important and overarching piece of advice. Strong direction and leadership, not just from the business owner, but the entire senior team is vital when addressing employee behaviour. Although important, leading by example often isn’t enough. Applying each of the six points above will help you manage your team and the individuals within it in the most inspirational, cost-effective, and valuable way.

8. Recruitment
Learn to spot to spot mavericks during the recruitment phase. Firestarter People Solutions can help you psychologically profile your team to find out how a potential new starter would fit in. Using our personality profiling tool we will identify four key operational styles and eight important roles that structure a balanced and stable team.


Liza Bewick
Director, Firestarter People Solutions

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