Make Everyone Around You Smarter: An Interview with “Multipliers” author Liz Wiseman

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In this interview with “Multipliers” author Liz Wiseman, she tells Chuck Leddy how leaders can make everyone around them smarter.

Leddy: How do you define a “multiplier” leader versus a “diminisher” leader?

Wiseman: Let's start with the diminisher. Unfortunately, most of us have worked for these kind of leaders. A diminisher is smart and capable, but they work in a way that stifles the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. They drain intelligence from their team. Often these are leaders who are so focused on their own capability, their own ideas, their own contributions, that they don't look to see what the people around them can contribute.

A multiplier uses their intelligence in a very different way. These are leaders who are smart and capable themselves, but who use and invite, and even provoke, capability in others around them. As my book’s subtitle says, the best leaders make everyone smarter. They use all of people’s capabilities and they grow intelligence and capacity in others.

Leddy: Can we measure the different impacts multipliers and diminishers might have on employees?

Wiseman: We’ve found that diminishing leaders get less than half of people's full capability. So across small businesses, middle market businesses, and large businesses, these diminishing leaders get 48 percent of people's capability on average. This means 100% of someone's intelligence, knowledge, skills, insights, and capability walks through the door every morning, but not all of that is getting used. Employees describe working for these diminishing bosses as frustrating, exhausting, soul sucking and often people end up quitting. Or worse, people quit and stay.

Whereas these multiplier leaders get virtually all of people’s capability. Two times of what diminishers get from people, which is 95-97 percent of people’s capability. The bosses in any organization that everyone wants to work for are the ones that people grow and succeed around. Who doesn't want to go work for someone who sees your unique genius, puts it to work on something visible and important, challenges it and stresses it, and then shines a spotlight on it?

Leddy: How can managers become “multipliers”?

Read the FULL interview with Liz Wiseman here.

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Chuck Leddy
Chuck Leddy is a humble, intellectually curious, and fast-learning digital content developer/writer in Boston with a focus on employee engagement, leadership, and wellness. As a content developer, he's worked for B2B clients such as ADP, GE, American Express OPEN Forum, Cintas, Office Depot, the National Center for the Middle Market, and more.