Recently I had the pleasure of participating in a new simulation-based workshop built upon Liz Wiseman’s book and research on “Multipliers”. “What’s a Multiplier” you ask?
Have you ever wondered how some leaders seemed to make everyone around them smarter and more capable, driving their teams to achieve astonishing results, while others drain intelligence and productivity from their organizations?
Multipliers are leaders that look beyond their own capabilities and focus their energy on extracting and extending the intelligence of others. They create the best space for thinking, stretch their teams, and instill accountability and ownership in every one of their team members. They are able to get more out of their people than most know they have to give.
Conversely, those leaders who, based on upon research, get on average 50% less out of their teams, are what Wiseman, who has been recognized as a top 10 leadership thinker, calls “Diminishers”. These leaders firmly believe that their team will not be able to achieve results without them involved and create, typically unintentionally, an environment of stress that stifles creative thought.
In her book, Wiseman isolates the five disciplines that differentiate Multipliers from Diminishers as well as those actions too many of us commit that “accidently” diminish productivity, like being a “Rescuer” every time someone brings them a problem. While the Rescuer’s intent is to ensure their people are successful and to protect their reputations, the outcome is far too often their people become dependent on them, which weakens their reputations.
The simulation workshop is fascinating in that it uses competitive gamification to help participants learn the mindset of the Multiplier. Instead of lecturing on the topic, it simulates real world “moments” leaders face day-to-day and provides coaching and feedback on the actions participants take during the simulation that either multiply or diminish team intelligence and results.
One of the moments I found particularly interesting focused on how Multipliers deal with new opportunities that constantly open up for top talent on their team. Diminishers tend to be “Empire Builders”, hoarding and underutilizing talent. Multipliers tend to be “Talent Magnets”, constantly attracting, developing and supporting their talent to take on new responsibilities, even at what might be perceived as being of significant cost to one’s own team.
In today’s volatile and austere business climate where organizational strategies are created in an environment of what Covey, who wrote the book’s Foreword, refers to as “new demands, insufficient resources,” Multiplying is virtually the only way to execute effectively against today’s strategies and beat the competition.
I encourage you to think about the key leadership “moments” you and your leaders will face in the future and, if you’re working in an environment where there’s pressure to produce more from less, stop to reflect upon whether the actions you and your leaders plan to take will Multiply or Diminish.