Rebel Talent

Recently HBR shared a series called "Rebel Talent". I'm a huge fan of this series, a large amount of it is how I live my life day-to-day.

The idea is that "employee engagement is a problem. To fix it, encourage your workers to break rules and be themselves."

Here are a few key highlights I love:

LET YOUR WORKERS REBEL

GIVE EMPLOYEES OPPORTUNITIES TO BE THEMSELVES

  • Encourage employees to reflect on what makes them feel authentic.

  • Tell employees what job needs to be done rather than how to do it.

  • Let employees solve problems on their own.

  • Let employees define their missions.

ENCOURAGE EMPLOYEES TO BRING OUT THEIR SIGNATURE STRENGTHS

  • Give employees opportunities to identify their strengths.

  • Tailor jobs to employees’ strengths.

QUESTION THE STATUS QUO, AND ENCOURAGE EMPLOYEES TO DO THE SAME

  • Ask “Why?” and “What if?”

  • Stress that the company is not perfect.

  • Excel at the basics.

CREATE CHALLENGING EXPERIENCES

  • Maximize variety.

  • Continually inject novelty into work.

  • Identify opportunities for personal learning and growth.

  • Give employees responsibility and accountability.

FOSTER BROADER PERSPECTIVES

  • Create opportunities for employees to view problems from multiple angles.

At the electronics manufacturer Sharp, an oft-repeated maxim is “Be dragonflies, not flatfish.” Dragonflies have compound eyes that can take in multiple perspectives at once; flatfish have both eyes on the same side of the head and can see in only one direction at a time.

  • Use language that reduces self-serving bias.

  • Hire people with diverse perspectives.

VOICE AND ENCOURAGE DISSENTING VIEWS

  • Look for disconfirming evidence.

Mellody Hobson, the president of Ariel Investments and the chair of the board of directors of DreamWorks Animation, regularly opens team meetings by reminding attendees that they don’t need to be right; they need to bring up information that can help the team make the right decisions, which happens when members voice their concerns and disagree.

  • Create dissent by default.

  • Identify courageous dissenters.

In conclusion:

"Organizations, like individuals, can easily become complacent, especially when business is going well. Complacency often sets in because of too much conformity — stemming from peer pressure, acceptance of the status quo, and the interpretation of information in self-serving ways. The result is a workforce of people who feel they can’t be themselves on the job, are bored, and don’t consider others’ points of view.

Constructive nonconformity can help companies avoid these problems. If leaders were to put just half the time they spend ensuring conformity into designing and installing mechanisms to encourage constructive deviance, employee engagement, productivity, and innovation would soar."

https://hbr.org/cover-story/2016/10/let-your-workers-rebel