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  • Writer's pictureColin McArdle

A life in units (Part 2): Top Gun: Managing your ‘Maverick’ – management challenges in the services

Sat on a beanbag watching ‘Top Gun’ on a glitchy VHS tape as a teenager, I didn’t appreciate the common management challenges sitting behind the glitz, aviator sunglasses and fast jets. As a professional adult, the situation is obvious - Maverick and Iceman are fighting it out to be the best and not necessarily caring for the rules of work they should be following. The fall out being a mid-air disaster.

Whilst managing difficult team members in the professional services sector is unlikely to result in ‘life or death’ situations, challenging behaviours can destabilise a team and within this sector, strong personalities can be common. Whilst ‘Mavericks’ can and often do deliver results, their approach and disregard for process can be counter-productive.

The fall out from a ‘Maverick’ can be wasted management time and additional pressure on support team members, which in turn leads to growing frustrations. The additional strain is caused by the trail of destruction ‘Mavericks’ leave through incomplete forms, missing records and partially concluded process, all of which require rework or review.

Despite the initial results – their presence can negatively impact overall productivity and lead to lost revenue and capacity elsewhere. With hidden costs and time wastage, your ‘Maverick’ may not necessarily be the ‘top gun’ you thought.

Standardisation and the ability to replicate process is a key driver to improving business efficiency and hence, putting your firm in the best position for growth and revenue improvement. This can be tough with a ‘Maverick’ in the team though!

When dealing with strong personalities, an important step is inviting the individual to participate in developing the standard operating procedures and creating the best practices for your organisation. Some of the ‘Mavericks’ characteristics and practices will be worth replicating and perhaps your ‘Maverick’ could assist with coaching in this respect.

Trusting the individual and involving them in this way removes any further excuses. Structured coaching and support are imperative in setting the right foundations for the future. If despite the offers of involvement, your ‘Maverick’ continues to resist the change process, you should consider whether you are both still working to the same common business objective?

If your ‘Maverick’ will not fall into line, perhaps formal performance management or an exit strategy may be options to consider? After all standardization, trust and consistency across the team are the drivers needed for growth and you don’t want any mid-air disasters along the way.

Get in touch for ideas of how you can remove time waste, standardise processes and create efficiencies within your organization to and best place you to grow your business for the future.

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