Have you ever noticed that the intelligence level of workers declines significantly with the amount of time they work at your company?
This question arose in my mind once I read the bestselling text Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, by Liz Wiseman and Greg Mckeown. The one big question that it asks audiences to ponder has to do with leadership. This question is one that many have always been aware of but seemed to tiptoe around the concept with fear of being incompetent. Wiseman and Mckeown address the question of, “As a leader, are you a multiplier or are you a diminisher?”
The authors also present influential terms that can be impactful for many business-minded individuals all around the world. They break down the two types of leaders that people should be when overseeing a workforce or group of people:
Multiplier: As a leader, are you influencing and empowering people around you to want to improve and be more intelligent?
Diminisher: As a leader, are you making people feel less intelligent?
Research conducted by the authors determined that leaders who were considered multipliers were twice as likely to receive a higher rating from their employees versus diminishers. The result of this ends up being annual business growth that ranges from 5% to 10%. This stems from the fact that in this scenario, employees are empowered and have the capabilities to do better work. They do this by relying on their employee’s intelligence versus their physical presence in order to remain competitive in the business market.
Genius Vs. Genius Maker
Wiseman and Mckeown pose another question for readers and that is whether or not they are the genius or the genius maker.
Genius: The person who needs to take charge and let it be known that you have all of the solutions and answers to all the problems.
Genius Maker: The person who identifies the geniuses among the workforce and delegates responsibilities and purpose to these people. They will be the ones to carry the business and provide solutions.
Genius makers are those who will be the backbone of any company. Stephen Covey mentions their importance in his popular Seven Habits series noting that they are tomorrow’s business leaders. During the 20th Century, the labor force highly depended on manufacturing because that is what drove the economy. As the demand rose, so did the need for productivity. For 21st Century leaders, they, too, need to make efforts to increase productivity in the form of employee knowledge.
Influence in Personal Life
When it comes to being a multiplier, this can also be seen in someone’s personal life as well. The authors present research that conveys a parent’s influence on a child’s intelligence level simply with the behaviors of a multiplier versus a diminisher.
We live in a generation where it seems that every child gets a trophy for “participating.” People are afraid to tell a child something negative for fear that they are going to influence him or her into thinking he or she is not good enough. What the research and studies show from Wiseman and Mckeown is that praising children will only make them less confident over time. This is because they feel the need to impress you or exceed your expectations at all times, causing them to feel less confident about themselves when they are unable to meet that need.
Instead, it is recommended that adults praise the children’s efforts of doing a good job. Doing so will give children the ability to critically reflect and be practical about situations. Then, it will help them to solve more real world problems using critical thinking. When they are able to figure things out on their own, they build their own self-confidence and sense of accomplishment.
Diminishers should not be deemed as negative people looking to bring down everyone’s confidence. Diminishers are just unaware that sometimes, the words they use can be detrimental to someone’s self-esteem and intelligence level.
How to Be a Multiplier
After presenting the evidence and research, Wiseman and Mckeown then show how leaders can become multipliers. They spend a good amount of time explaining that it begins with a shift in assumptions, and from there, changing behavior and attitude.
A diminisher will assume that people are not capable of being on the same level as they are. Diminishes will usually blame, dictate and attempt to control people. Multipliers, on the other hand, know that people are capable of doing a good job and will empower them with opportunities to support their abilities.
To sum it up, diminishers are considered to be micro-managers while multipliers take the time to invest in their employees.
The 5 Disciplines of a Multiplier
Multipliers have to be trained to be this way. It is not automatic and comes with a lot of self awareness and practice. The authors have identified the five disciplines or traits of a multiplier that help them succeed in leading a workforce.
- Bring in skilled and talented people and employ them in areas where they are strongest and most effective.
- Foster a positive and creative work environment that initiates higher level thinking from employees.
- Provide multiple opportunities for employees to enhance their learning.
- Present questions that welcome debate and that will lead to effective decision-making.
- Give employees the chance to be accountable for results.
The multiplier is the person who facilitates and empowers the employees. They offer chances for employees to challenge themselves in a positive workspace.
You can read the text for yourself and see how you can start making some great changes.
Quick Note About the Author
It is rare that a female author is part of the line of best-selling business books. Only about five women make up the list of Top 100 books listed on Amazon. This was very interesting and it’s great to see that she is making her mark on the business world.
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