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How to spot a ‘maverick’ in the office

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The next time you see a colleague answer the office phone, keep an eye out for which ear they lift the receiver to.

Right ear? Then you’ve no problems. Left? Looks like you’ve a maverick on your hands.

Actually, researchers from the London School of Economics (LSE) claim that having a few mavericks in the office can actually be a good thing.

They found that workers who lift the receiver to their left ear are more likely to be “workplace mavericks” – creative, independent thinkers not afraid to bend the rules.

The study, of 458 employees, found the current financial climate has made businesses increasingly reliant on the skills of internal ‘mavericks’ to keep firms aggressive and competitive in the global market place.

Employers can spot a maverick, the research claimed, by looking at how a worker answered the phone.

Those who have a preference for holding the receiver to their left ear are far more likely to be rule-breakers because it denotes a preference for using the right hemisphere of the brain, associated with creative, problem solving activities.

Dr Elliroma Gardiner, co-author of the report, said: “Maverick employees have been popularly described as independent thinkers, creative problem solvers, quick decision makers, and goal-oriented individuals.”

In a recent article for Entrepreneur.com, Sir Richard Branson spoke about the importance of ‘intraprenueurs’ – employees given the freedom to create new products and explore new avenues. 

“While it’s true that every company needs an entrepreneur to get it under way, healthy growth requires a smattering of intrapreneurs who drive new projects and explore new and unexpected directions for business development,” he said.