We spend 70% of our time working, like it or not, you see that dreaded boss or colleague more often than you see your family and friends. Isn't it a tragedy and an utter betrayal to yourself if you spent 70% of your time doing something you don't quite love with the people you complain about day in, day out?
Never mind the rat race, an idea planted in our heads to tell us what we have is not good enough. Do you find purpose in what your organisation stands for? If not directly, how about indirectly? While some drag themselves to work and get by with minimal effort, others bury their heads in work, threading on the inevitable path to burn out yet not knowing why.
So, what is a Workplace Maverick? He or she is an independent minded person whose sense of purpose is value adding to people around them, including him or herself in a workplace.
Now, I know the definition is pretty broad but it is what it is. You see, if there's one lesson I believe the World needs to learn is that you don't need to justify your actions to anyone, whether it's at home or the workplace.
Will Smith famously said:
2+2 only equals 4 if you accept that 2+2 equals 4. 2+2's gonna be what I want it to be
Believing in this quote, doesn't mean you're out of your mind or you sit on the fence (or bad at math, c'mon it's a metaphor), it's quite the opposite. If you understand and believe 2+2 is whatever you want it to be, you simply understand that you have the will and the conscientious choice to believe whatever you want to be believe and do whatever you want to do.
The definition of a Workplace Maverick is inevitably broad because a Maverick has many ways to fuel his or her sense of purpose for the good of the organisation and its people (as long it does not involve doing anything malicious). So I am choosing not to find a specific definition for this role but here's a few examples, someone who
- Refuses to back down when he/she knows what the organisation is doing is morally wrong or detrimental to business.
- Understands the difficulties of the business and find ways to work around them
- Says the right thing at the right time and not because it's what the boss wants to hear
- Encourage or assist a colleague in their times of difficulty
- Gives advice from the person's perspective and not their own.
- Knows a "No" today, does not mean "No" forever.
- Does his or her part to eradicate negative culture and instead promote a healthy culture that fosters working together.
- The list goes on...
These actions may sound like what you or a colleague may do, bearing in mind you don't have to do every single thing to be recognised as a Maverick. Hell, you don't even need to be recognised as long as you know it on the inside.
So why is it important to have a Maverick in your workplace and to be one yourself? Because it sucks to be a zombie in a place you spent the most of your life in, which most probably is your main source of income. It eats you from the inside and you think that a change of environment will help, that you left your job because of a lousy manager or pollutive colleagues but if we don't step up. If we don't raise our standards and shine the brightest we can shine, the darkness will always catch up.
Two common misconception are, the CEO or whoever runs the show is the Maverick or the CEO thinks his most trusted, right hand man/woman is the Maverick. These common misconceptions often leads to poor culture, stagnant business performance or worst, the end of the line. Mavericks are independent minded people, they however do not work alone and imagine a group of independent minded people with similar sense of purpose aligned with the organisation's, working continuously to fulfil the mission and vision. How can they fail?
So there's two parts to this. We must strife to be a Maverick in our workplace and encourage the building of a platform that encourage Mavericks or anyone to thrive. While our leaders, managers, CEOs must understand the importance of such a platform that allows every employee to leave a better person in any way than when they arrived.
www.workplacemaverick.com is my humble journey to help people and organisations build that platform. This is my first post and I hope my humble writing and other tools can encourage individuals to bring about the Maverick in them and to sustain a positive mindset in good times and bad. My goal is to see more companies become a platform for growth for their employees and not simply a modernised sweatshop to earn millions and billions for its owners.
What do you think? If you have comments, feedback or questions, please, please fire away. I will be glad to answer them and expand the notion of Workplace Maverick.