Multipliers or Diminishers

Bringing out the best in people is something effective leaders aspire to achieve. Yet some leaders seem to consistently hold teams back by draining their intelligence and underutilizing their collective capacity. Other leaders seem to be able to unleash the ideas, skills, and interests of their people leading to superior performance and long-term success. The difference can be traced to distinctive leadership styles Wiseman and McKeown (2010) call multipliers or diminishers.

The same researchers indicate that diminishers may hold their teams back despite their good intentions, totally unaware of the restrictive impact they have on others. They cite three signs:

  • Being a visionary. Some leaders are good at laying out a compelling vision and persuading others to buy into the vision. But they leave little space for people to think through the challenges themselves.
  • Having the gift of gab. Some leaders are passionate and articulate, taking up a lot of meeting time. But what they intend to be infectious is unfortunately stifling.
  • Being a creative person. Some leaders are a sparkplug of creative thinking continually generating new ideas. But team members suffer from organizational whiplash as they try to keep up with every new idea imposed by this “creativity.”

It may be time to listen to those who dare to stop you in your tracks to let you know how your leadership style is affecting them so you can develop ways to become a true multiplier.

Source: Wiseman, L., & McKeown, G. (2010). Bringing out the best in your people. Harvard Business Review, 88(5), 117-121.