5 Reasons Why You Should Hire (or be) a Rebel at Work

A rebel on your payroll can help you beat your competition, or if you are the rebel, drastically improve your career.

By rebel, I don’t mean the punk in spiked leather breaking beer bottles on the cop car, while battling his arch nemesis: the inner conflict of the man-child crying for his mother’s love.

No, by rebel I mean the man or woman who is allowed to challenge the status quo, lend a different perspective, innovate, and be fearless from receiving the usual repercussions of questioning their boss.

Here are five reasons why having a rebel on staff, or being the rebel yourself, can be beneficial.

1: I Challenge You, Good Sir, to a Duel!

The signature trait of a great rebel is someone who challenges the rule because the rule holds back progress.

Challenging the rule — questioning its validity and if its still applicable — ensures that either it is effective or destructive.

A challenge to a rule is to test its validity and applicability to how things are now, or in the future.

For example: It may have been a rule that refunds could only be given to customers if they could find a defect in the product. More often today, though, it’s almost a requirement that refunds can be given with little or no questions, and all money back.

Challenging rules can also reveal if they are effective or not. By being able to voice an opposing view about a rule, the rebel can bring to light rules that may be harming employee performance or customer satisfaction.

2: “I’m Not Afraid Anymore!”

Yes you are.

Rebels have fear, but they have more courage. Over time, they listen less and less to the fear because they listen more to their courage.

In business, employees can easily become complacent, turning into yes men and yes women. This may feel great if you’re the leader, for awhile.

If nobody rocks the boat though, it’s bound to stay at sea. If your people don’t do it, then surely the ocean will, and won’t be so forgiving for your crew’s complacency.

By allowing a rebel to be courageous without as much punishment, they can tell the truth, and keep the ship on course. A great rebel would have the courage to tell the captain about the whirlpool a mile ahead.

A great leader would check the facts and perspective of the rebel before deciding which way to row the boat.

3: I See Things a Different Way

A rebel breaks the rules to cause havoc, if it’s their intention. The rebel in the workplace doesn’t intend to harm others, but seeks to bring a new perspective.

While the leader may view things one way, and keep pushing for it to be that way, the rest of his crew may just row along in whatever direction they are told.

The rebel will see the rocks in the waves the captain overlooked, or the oncoming storm that’s on the horizon — further than where the captain was looking.

  • Having different perspectives allows new ideas and concepts to emerge.
  • Having different perspectives allows a rebel to point out the hole in the bottom of the ship, when everyone else thought it was going to be a pleasant cruise.
  • Having different perspectives grants the rebel the opportunity to see how the competition may take over, and offer a solution to head them off before the ship is sunk.

4: Captain, oh Captain! Stay my Captain

If comfort is the killer of ambition, then challenge is its fuel.

People who have all they want can fall into the trap of comfort. When people are comfortable, it’s easy to be blindsided by competition.

A rebel in the workplace should question and challenge the leadership, to keep them from sitting comfortably. If the rebel is the leader, they should create a community of fearless innovation.

The job of the rebel on any ship is to ignite the captain’s responsibility to keep the crew headed toward its destination, and to ensure the captain doesn’t become so comfortable in his navigator that the course they set doesn’t bring them to peril.

Another benefit of having a rebel on the workforce is that it grants leaders an opportunity to flex their muscle. By flexing their muscle, they can remain strong, grow, and push themselves further ahead toward the goals.

5: Innovation

A requirement of innovation is to make something exponentially better. If everyone is fine with how things are, there will be sameness, conformity, and eventually, a lack of growth and ambition.

A rebel doesn’t accept every rigid rule as the only way things can be done. They seek to find new ways to do things, which can be itself an innovation.

Instead of sticking with the same old ways, a rebel can find ways to do the same, or more, using less resources. They can be resourceful, which is innovative.

Even if the idea is outlandish, weird, strange, or odd, a rebel should be allowed to pursue that path. In order for innovation to exist, one must be allowed to experiment; give the rebel free reign to try new and different things.

Caution!

We must not forget that a rebel is still an employee, and must be treated as such. They should still be held to the same standards — and a standard is a bare minimum of quality — as other employees, with one exception:

The rebel must be allowed to question the decisions of his or her leaders without immediate dismissal. Of course, derogatory, insults, and anything illegal, should not be tolerated; anything that diminishes a person’s character should not be tolerated.

If you could be a rebel at work, what would you do?

Stop Complaining! What Are Your Solutions?

We all know people who complain a lot. Maybe it’s you, your coworker, or your boss. What we really need are solutions, though, and I hope you have one.

Complainers drag down the workplace, the dinner table, and friendships. Yet, that seems to be the place that people complain the most: places where solutions and love should be shared.

Look, if you have something to complain about, it’s better to ask yourself, “Do I want to solve this”, or “Do I want to just bitch and hope someone else will solve it for me?

Most people opt for the second question. They complain about their life. They complain about the system. They complain that they don’t have enough money. They complain they can’t get a job.

They just complain.

It’s an addiction that feeds upon itself. Eventually, with enough complaining, they’ll start fighting the thoughts in their head.

Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

Yeah, well the definition of a bitch is someone who complains over and over again, expecting someone else to fix their problem.

Complaints are what caused us to create insane asylums. People back in the day knew how to handle these nutcases: locked ’em up so they didn’t have to hear it, and the rest of us got on with our lives.

We did away with the insane asylums, because someone complained about them. I think that’s why the Internet is full of people complaining about whatever the media tells them to.

If you’re the kind of person that wants their complaints to go away, then there’s good news for you. Two guys invented a search engine in the 1990’s called Google, and it’s very accurate at finding solutions to your complaints.

Might I suggest asking Google, “Why is my boss a jerk?

If you really need help, ask Google, “Why am I a jerk?

Don’t forget to include yourself in the evaluation.

You’ll never stop complaints, though. Complaints from customers. Complaints from the government. Complaints from suppliers, distributors, and clients. These are people you can’t do without.

The one thing you don’t have to tolerate is complaints from employees. I don’t mean ignore them, but ask them up front when they do complain, “Do you have a solution?”

If the answer is no, then they’re just complaining. They’re hoping you’ll solve the problem for them. As the manager, it’s your duty to address these complaints in a timely manner.

Some bosses fire complainers, which I admire. Get rid of the person who habitually complains. It’s a good indicator they’re not even doing their job in the first place.

Most bosses ignore complaints, and especially the complainers.

I’m interested in the bosses who help employees grow to the point that they stop complaining (so much). Useful employees hear a complaint in their head, and the solution is right behind it.

The best way to train your employees to solve their complaints is to make them available on the company bulletin board. Put the employee’s name next to it, so everyone knows. It’ll discourage complaining.

You can also encourage employees to find solutions. Make it a game: “Whoever clears the bulletin board of complaints the fastest, lunch is on me for a week!”

Congratulations, now you have a real problem solver.

Have a Solution

I emphasize the need for solutions, because that’s what makes complaints go away. If you feel stuck in your career, and you say to yourself, “My career is going nowhere,” then you have to own up to it.

The answer is usually in the complaint. “My career is going nowhere,” should point out that it’s your career, not someone else’s. Therefore it’s your responsibility – the ability to respond – to the belief that it’s not going anywhere.

Here’s a list of things you can do to improve your career.

  • Learn a new skill.
  • Learn more about your industry.
  • Change Companies (Maybe your boss is a jerk, and the new one won’t be.)
  • Show up to work on time with a better attitude.
  • Find a better attitude, first, though.
  • Re-educate yourself, through books, audio books, seminars, conferences, videos, articles, magazines, how-to guides.
  • Get a mentor. Someone else figured it out a long time ago; ask them.
  • Go surfing.
  • Go fishing.
  • Get out of the office for a while. Taken a vacation lately?
  • Knock over the water cooler.

Okay, don’t do that last one, at least not on purpose. Make it look like an accident.

The point is, your complaints will be your complaints until you turn them into your solutions. You solve something first by taking a step in the direction of what you’re complaining about.

Say you don’t like the lighting in your office. Solution: tell the boss, and ask him to put different lights in the office. Let him know they’re giving you skin cancer, and that will only, in the future, raise the cost of the company healthcare plan, and leave him liable for your health.

So I gotta ask…

What are your complaints,
and just as important,
the solutions to those complaints?

Your name will be listed with them in the comments below. It’ll encourage others to provide solutions, myself included.