As a manager why wouldn’t you want to build a strong team that connects and functions as the backbone of your company? It makes your life easier. The challenge is to not get so irritated by the one troublesome vertebra that won’t stay in alignment and pinches the rest of your team. He or she could turn out to be the next Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Richard Branson, or any number of “creators” in Silicon Valley.

Pull your whole team together to create a team culture built on trust and respect for individual gifts. A unified team can open the door to creativity, profit, and breakthroughs in your industry. As a manager it is up to you to balance it all. There are plenty of times you may think an individual team member is not worth it. In fact you may think that on most days. But ask one of Steve Jobs’ first bosses, Nolan Bushnell (creator of Atari), if he would handle Jobs differently than he did and the answer is yes.

"The truth is that very few companies would hire Steve, even today," Bushnell writes in his new book Finding The Next Steve Jobs. “Why? Because Jobs was an Outlier. To most potential employers, he'd just seem like a jerk in bad clothing."
That is not to say that Steve Jobs behavior should have been tolerated, rather directed and - although prickly – appreciated.

Bushnell has a whole new take on the basics of managing a team that you want to prosper. Many may surprise you.

• Make work fun. (That is a change for most companies. But really, who can be creative when they are always serious?)

• Weed out the naysayers. (Ask yourself: which will get you the farthest in your business – disciplining the cranky creative, or allowing the creative to grow by putting a lid on the naysayer?)

• Celebrate failure and learn from it. (Jobs got tossed from his own company, Apple. He learned, and went on to make Pixar dance.)

• Allow employees to take short naps during the day. (Research proves a catnap sharpens the mind. In Japan they are nearly mandatory.)

• Don't shy away from hiring talented people just because they look sloppy or lack college credentials: (Think - Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Matt Drudge, Bob Dylan – need I say more?)

Much of this management philosophy is the norm in Silicon Valley, but the rest of corporate America has yet to embrace this more laid-back style or appreciate quirky cohorts. As a manager, it is up to you to change your team culture, recognize and reward talent, and yes, insulate the rest of your team from the creative when truly necessary.

Author's Bio: 

Colette Johnston is a corporate specialist focusing on team building, classroom training and leadership development. For more than 15 years Colette has used experiential learning and instrumentation to lead organizations and the people in them to build cultures of sustainable learning, leadership, and team cohesion. She works with business leaders to define needs and develop solutions through consultative selling and hands-on facilitation.

Colette has provided training programs for a variety of different organizations from small business to Fortune 50 companies. She has also owned several businesses, so she understands first-hand the challenges leadership faces.