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Rebels at Work: a Tremendous Source of Added Value

What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you think of rebels at work? Troublemakers, indiscipline, problem-creators? That’s right and no one can blame you because in the public mindset rebels are not very popular in these days of conformity.

But we are underestimating the value of a good rebel colleague. Here we are not talking about rebels who are trying to mess up and upset everybody or are looking to break the rules to flatter themselves. We talk rebels who can bring tremendous added value to your company. They are frontline pioneers who are trying new ideas and leading towards innovation.

At first sight, rebels might generate uncertainty and fear. But they create a sense of excitement and a new vision by challenging status quo such as strict old procedures and the vertical hierarchy.

The Harvard behavioural scientist Francesca Gino has studied successful rebels form a science standpoint in her passionate book “Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life”. She has found 5 core strengths that rebels share: novelty, curiosity, perspective, diversity and authenticity. Moreover, she suggests eight steps towards the rebel leadership style:

  1. Break away the routine.
  2. Seek out differences of opinion.
  3. Keep always your mind open.
  4. Display your authenticity in full view.
  5. Learn everything, then forget everything: “They [Rebels] have a deep understanding of what’s there, and that’s the basis that allows them to transform and create” Francesca Gino enounced.
  6. Find freedom in constraints.
  7. Lead from the trenches: do not hesitating to get down from your leader position and do some basic employee work.
  8. Know the value of a happy accident.

Adapting ourselves to our workplace environment might be reassuring but after a while our daily life could be bland. Having a rebellious spirit not only allows you to live each day differently but also to have a learner mindset and thus discovering new worlds.