Managing Maverick Managers

 
Name me one TV cop who isn't a maverick. Wouldn't  we all like to stick two fingers up to senior management on occasions, to follow our professional instincts rather than inflexible procedures , do what we think is right rather than blindly follow instructions, do the job the way it should be done rather than hit arbitrary targets and struggle to stay within an unrealistic budget.
 
Mavericks may make good TV but they're a nightmare to manage.  A maverick manager is prepared to challenge the chief executive and embarrass the politicians, doesn't care about the reputation of the organisation, or bad publicity in the local media. A maverick manager has long since recognised that their behaviour , the fact that they are neither a safe pair of hands nor loyal to the organisation, means their career is going nowhere. A maverick manager never asks permission. A maverick manager works on the philosophy that every thing is allowed unless it is specifically forbidden . A maverick manager thinks the  guidelines are just that, guidance, procedures shouldn't get in the way of timely action, financial regulations can be got round and advice from HR can be ignored. 
 
Mavericks are not managed they are tolerated. They are useful, they speak the truth to power yet can be disowned. Mavericks are dedicated often obsessive about the job, they don't need motivating. Their unauthorthordox  methods often get results allowing their superiors to take the credit. The trick is not to let them near the chief executive , don't ask too many questions, back their professional judgment by keeping them on a long lead and take reassurance from the knowledge that they will accept responsibility for their actions. 
 
Although many managers would like to think they are a bit of a maverick true Mavericks are very rare in the public sector, they are useful and should be managed with a light touch in between reprimands. 
 
Blair McPherson former director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk

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