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Let your ‘renegades’ fly solo missions

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Good leaders encourage both teams and individual stars, even when the dominant culture is oriented toward teamwork.

Reason: You need pathfinders to run ahead of the pack. These renegades will help the organization stay ahead of the competition, and that means shedding adherence to team rule at all costs. Organizations known for success and innovation—such as Virgin Atlantic—boast these in-house gadflies.

In case you don’t recognize the types:
  • Team players produce the most by building relationships. They think aloud. They gather colleagues to brainstorm. They deliver their best thinking in groups. Put them in teams charged with long-range strategy or R&D.
  • Venturers are energized by driving change. They’re willing to confront colleagues to achieve it. They charge ahead. And they can keep their momentum even with ambiguous feedback. When your organization faces a crisis, let these people swing into action.
Caveat: At times, using venturers can backfire. If one person makes a unilateral decision that requires extensive input from colleagues, he or she does damage by missing certain implications, by undercutting creativity and by reducing the authority and motivation of his peers.

But if your firm depends too much on team culture, you risk homogenizing your staff and weeding out your most creative, aggressive achievers. Let your venturers blast off in rockets while your team players man mission control.

— Adapted from “How to Become a Breakthrough Company? Keep Your Renegades Energized, Even Within a Team Environment,” Dennis LaRosee, PI Worldwide, www.PIworldwide.com.

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