As the leader of your business, you’re the one that gets to make the rules and the expectation is that, of course, your employees will follow said rules. However, a groundbreaking book from a Harvard University professor suggests that it is the employees that bend – or even break – the rules are actually the ones that will boost your business.
In the book, appropriately titled Rebel Talent, author Francesca Gino argues that rebels reject the idea that there are limits on what they can achieve and thus will do what they can to “break, transform, and create.” So how can you find yourself a rebel new hire and, perhaps more importantly, how do you manage this rule breaker once they’re on board?
Finding a rebel:
While folks aren’t likely to highlight on their resume that they can’t follow rules, Gino notes that there are still ways to seek them out during the interview process. According to Gino, so-called rebel employees share five traits: novelty, curiosity, perspective, diversity, and authenticity. For example, an employee that left their previous job because they couldn’t jive with the culture or because they were butting heads on group projects isn’t necessarily a bad thing – rather, it could signal that you have a rebel on your hands.
Non-conformity versus defiance:
When we think about rebels, we use the term rule-breakers a lot. However, there is a difference between breaking rules just for the sake of it and breaking them in order to achieve a goal. This difference between defiance and failure to conform is an important distinction and one that will prove especially important when it comes to hiring and managing these employees. Look for folks who can explain what they hoped to achieve by not conforming to the norm and how they went about breaking the rules – those that throw others under the bus or put roadblocks up that prevent the achievement of goals will always be bad for business.
Encourage feedback and dissent:
One of the hardest parts about being a leader is having to explain or even defend your decisions. However, presenting your ideas to your employees and encouraging them to provide their feedback or challenge your thought process can lead to better outcomes when you have rebels in your midst. We all bring unique experiences to the table, so encouraging folks to share what they have learned and how it has changed their outlook can help you to sidestep errors or even elevate your ideas.
Rethink your group projects:
When we create group projects, we usually focus on the idea generation process and the end product, with little thought as to what the middle part looks like. If you have rebels on board, however, you can expect that you’ll need more meetings throughout the project as folks wrestle with the concepts and how to best execute a collective vision. Now, don’t confuse your involvement with a need to be the ultimate decision maker – rather, your role should be one of a facilitator, helping to make sure that folks are staying on task and helping to make sure that all of the voices in the group are equally heard.
Finding the right employee is extremely important and will reduce turnover in your company. Did you know when you are partnered with Abel HR that we will find the best candidates for your company and send them to you for interviewing. To learn more about Abel HR, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609.860.0400.