Freak Management

Last Updated Apr 14, 2008 11:38 PM EDT

Can being a freak make you a good manager?

That's the theme of Freak Factor, which encourages people to "flaunt their weaknesses." That's part of being freaky.

Author David Rendall has three main points to make in a PDF that's a free download on Change This:

1.There is nothing wrong with you. Weaknesses are important clues to your strengths.

2.You find success when you find the right fit. You need to match your unique characteristics to situations that reward those qualities.

3.Your weaknesses make you different. They make you a freak and it's good to be a freak.

The essay has a nice chart that catalogs 16 weaknesses and their corresponding strengths (disorganized = creative, obnoxious = enthusiastic, and so on). It then walks through those points with clever examples from the real world (Einstein was disorganized and very creative, for instance), ending many points with Freak Fallacies ("I need to be well-rounded") and Freak Facts ("no one will pay you for being mediocre").

There are also four tips for managing like a freak:

1. Don't try to change people.
2. Choose the right people.
3. Find what is right with people.
4. Let people be freaks (that is, recognize that employees are individuals).

The overall takeaway seems to be that we shouldn't try to fix our weaknesses, but focus on those corresponding strengths. Such advice makes me freak out. I don't want to dwell on my weaknesses, but I do want to minimize their impact on my professional life.

I guess I'm not ready to have a freaky day.

  • Michael Fitzgerald

    Michael Fitzgerald writes about innovation and other big ideas in business for publications like the New York Times, The Economist, Fast Company, Inc. and CIO. He’s worked as a writer or editor at Red Herring, ZDNet, TechTV and Computerworld, and has received numerous awards as a writer and editor. Most recently, his piece on the hacker collective the l0pht won the 2008 award for best trade piece from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He was also a 2007 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion.