Team Players: Are You a Valuable Initiator or a Maverick? | #LeadMorale

Every team wants team players who actively engage. They step up and often initiate the transformative idea and the first move. These team players roll up their sleeves, contribute, and help change the future. Meanwhile, some teams have annoying mavericks (aka loose cannons). So what are the differences between a valuable initiator and a maverick?

Team Players: Initiator or Maverick. Image is rocket taking off.

Team Players: Are Your Valuable Initiator or Maverick? Image by Steve Jurvetson via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by Steve Jurvetson via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Team Players: Valuable Initiators or Mavericks?

Use the following checklist to assess your own behavior, share the list with your teammates or leaders, and use it to coach those you lead.

Mavericks …

As I help teams improve their interaction, I often find that annoying mavericks don’t even see themselves this way. They think they are the team ignition switch that gets things moving. Yet they are not team players showing initiative. They are individualists on their solo journeys. They show no respect nor interest for other’s views, talents, or contributions.

  1. Assume that others agree with what they say.

  2. Expect support vs. build support.

  3. Look forward yet not around at their teammates.

  4. Suggest a revolutionary new direction in a meeting yet resist discussion.

  5. Jump in before they find out if others welcome help.

  6. Presume a position of team leadership and claim they are doing it for everyone’s benefit.

  7. Publicize team efforts without consulting team members on when to publicize.

  8. Act from their own view without emotional intelligence and therefore overlook other’s views or needs.

Valuable Initiators …

  1. Ask vs. assume. They start conversations and generously listen to all views.

  2. Interact to assess which ideas are best. Perhaps their own, perhaps others.

  3. See 360 degrees. Their own ideas are but a few in the total picture.

  4. Contribute and value other’s contributions.

  5. Look around before they jump in. If others are active, they collaborate vs. taking over.

  6. Don’t even presume there must be a leader. Collaboration is a real option for them.

  7. Honor team members and their perspectives. They consult and collaborate not just take action.

  8. Use emotional intelligence as the pathway to true teamwork and change.

Team Players: Initiators or Mavericks?

For many years, the image people had of team players was not as initiators. As a result, non-initiating team members would see those who offered very different ideas as annoying mavericks especially when their behaviors were as noted in the first list above. Thankfully, the image of team players now is much more active.

Yet, the Hidden Struggle

Many highly motivated self-starters feel conflicted. They wonder, “Must I hold back my energy and ideas to avoid the label of maverick?” No, you don’t have to hold back. To make sure you are a welcome initiator (not an annoying maverick), use the positive behaviors in the second list above as you initiate ideas and share your energy.


Why does this matter? Because it affects the ultimate success of the new ideas. Whether you are the official leaders or the team players, you must engage other’s views, respect their contributions, and collaborate/consider different ways to get to the finish line. When you do this, you lead and sustain morale. And yes, morale matters!

What do you think? Would love to hear your views.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
What Scared Leaders Do to Courageous Employees
5 Essentials to Leading Hesitant & Courageous Employees
The 13 Most Absurd Assumptions & Debates Between Introverts & Extroverts

©2024 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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