Make it your business to help the people around you better

Created by CJ Alvarado
October 26, 2015

Are you a multiplier or a diminisher? Where you fall on this scale has a lot to do with how well you lead, according to Liz Wiseman. In her book Multipliers, she explains that “the best leaders increase the capacity of everyone around them” through being a multiplier instead of a diminisher.

So what’s the difference between a multiplier and a diminisher? According to Wiseman, a lot of it comes down to giving employees space to come up with new ideas.

Are you a diminisher? If you are, you might have some of these traits:

  • You tend to micro-manage.
  • You talk at people instead of really communicating.
  • You need to be the smartest person in the room and find ways to let people know they don’t quite measure up.

Diminishers have a tendency to believe that they’re the only one that can solve a problem. They may surround themselves with smart people, but that doesn’t mean they take advantage of all that intelligence. Diminishers believe that because they are put in a leadership position, it’s their job to know better than everyone else. The result? Their employees access less than a third of their intelligence.

If you’re a multiplier, on the other hand, your managing style might look a little more like this:

  • You trust the people around you and give them plenty of autonomy.
  • You show appreciation and make others feel important.
  • You have high expectations and are willing to challenge people.

Being a multiplier doesn’t mean you’re all about cupcakes and warm fuzzies, though. Multipliers believe that their people are talented and able to take on challenges, and they’re willing to let the people around them suffer a little in order to access their intelligence. By giving people a push out of their comfort zone, multipliers lead through focusing their group’s intelligence and energy.

Great intentions aren’t enough. Diminishers may believe they’re being a great leader because they’re coming to the rescue. They don’t want to see people struggle or make mistakes, so they swoop in to help. While this may sounds like a helpful idea, it actually stunts learning and keeps people from fully accessing their intelligence.

If you aren’t sure if you’re a diminisher or a multiplier, or if you know you’re a diminisher and want to make a change, Wiseman says it’s time to move from “a place of knowing to a place of inquiry.” Learning how to ask questions that share the burden of thinking with your team lets you take advantage of all of the talents in your group.

It’s a fine line between letting people feel uncomfortable enough to really dig into their intelligence and keeping them motivated enough to want to keep working for you. The best leaders walk that line successfully, bringing out the best that people have to offer while maintaining a positive, well-functioning environment and attention to results.

This Was Posted In our Medium Publication: Way To Go, Champ.

Make it your business to help the people around you better

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