Harvard Business School Professor, Francesca Gino, has spent more than a decade researching organizational behavior in corporations around the world. In her work, she has identified leaders and employees who exemplify “rebellious talent.”
In her observations, Gino identified eight principles rebels live by. We can all learn from them and become agents of positive change:
1. Break away from routines and seek out the new. Find your unique way of doing things;
2. Encourage constructive criticism. We have a natural tendency to seek the company of like-minded people, but sometimes it pays to listen to those who don’t always agree with us. Gino gives the example of Rachel Chang, the CEO of a successful non-profit organization, who starts the recruitment of new staff by asking interviewees to criticize her work;
3. Keep the conversations open. Use improv techniques to learn how to take your ideas a step further. Learn to lose control and explore untapped territories;
4. Authenticity is power. Reveal yourself as you are, reflect upon your strengths and weaknesses. By revealing your true self, you run the risk of being rejected by those who don’t like you, but you’ll receive the respect and appreciation of those who matter most. Authenticity is a great way to create rapport, get your message across, build connections and make an impact;
5. Learn, forget, and do your own thing. Rebel talents understand the role of constantly acquiring new information, but they select what ideas are worth developing and building upon;
6. Find freedom in constraints. When asked to come up with innovative solutions, there are always constraints of time, budget, or availability to collaborate with teams that can bring vital expertise to your project. The rebel leader sees through all this noise and delivers innovation inside these frameworks;
7. Lead from the trenches. Connect with your team and try to understand each team member’s role in the organization. Do their jobs for one day and see what insights from that experience you can use to improve or innovate future projects;
8. Foster happy accidents. Work in cross-disciplinary teams with multicultural backgrounds. Rebels like to work in a diverse team that can cross-pollinate. Mistakes can lead to breakthroughs.
"Rebellion is an approach to life and work that we should all embrace," writes Gino.
If you want to find out what kind of rebel you are, take the quiz Francesca Gino created for you. You’ll receive an explanation of the results and guidance on how to develop your talent.