Are You a Multiplier?

Multipliers tend to increase intelligence in the people and organizations in which they interact. Diminishers, on the other hand, tend to be absorbed in their own intelligence. They underuse the people they work with and tend to leave capability on the table. These two concepts are well explained by Liz Wiseman in her bestseller Multipliers. Here are a few insights I extracted from her book:

  1. Multipliers are rated 42 percent higher than Diminishers at delivering world-class results. They display several of the following behaviors:
    1. They attract, develop, and optimize talent.
    2. They require people’s best thinking.
    3. They challenge their people.
    4. They promote healthy debate on key decisions.
    5. They instill accountability.

  2. Accidental Diminishers represent the majority of Diminishers. They are managers who, despite their best intentions, have a diminishing impact on the people they lead. They display one or more of the following characteristics:
    1. They show creative and innovative thinking, and believe they are stimulating ideas in their people.
    2. They are dynamic and charismatic, and think they are spreading their energy broadly.
    3. They are empathic leaders who are quick to rescue their people when struggling.
    4. They are high achievers, action-oriented, and optimists. They lead by example and expect others to follow.
    5. They shield their people from problems.

  3. If you think you may be an Accidental Diminisher, here are a few suggestions:
    1. Seek feedback from your boss, peers, and direct reports.
    2. Lead with intention. Understand how your natural tendencies and preferences can be taking you down the wrong path.
    3. Do less and challenge more. Do less talking, convincing, and rescuing of others who may need to learn the hard lessons on their own.

You have a choice of which type of leader you want to be. As we approach year’s end, use these concepts both to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and to define where you want to focus your improvement efforts next year.

Percy M. Cannon


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