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Multipliers

How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

By Liz Wiseman
16-minute read
Audio available
Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman

Multipliers (2010) examines the difference between good leaders, known as Multipliers, who can join any team and make it flourish, and bad leaders, known as Diminishers, who can drain any team of its energy and drive. Author Liz Wiseman explains how to recognize the different types of Multipliers and Diminishers, while comparing the skills you should strive to develop with the ones you should avoid at all cost.

  • Leaders and managers looking to get the best from their team
  • Workers concerned about their managers’ leadership practices
  • Anyone looking to understand the dynamics of leadership

Liz Wiseman is a researcher and speaker, as well as the executive advisor and president of The Wiseman Group, a leadership research and development center based in Silicon Valley. She has written three best-selling books, The Multiplier Effect, Rookie Smarts and Multipliers, and continues to advise and lead strategy and leadership forums worldwide.

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Multipliers

How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

By Liz Wiseman
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
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Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman
Synopsis

Multipliers (2010) examines the difference between good leaders, known as Multipliers, who can join any team and make it flourish, and bad leaders, known as Diminishers, who can drain any team of its energy and drive. Author Liz Wiseman explains how to recognize the different types of Multipliers and Diminishers, while comparing the skills you should strive to develop with the ones you should avoid at all cost.

Key idea 1 of 10

There are two types of leaders: those who diminish the strengths of their team and those who multiply them.

Generally, there are two kinds of bosses: those who make you feel like you were born to do your job, and those who make you dread going to work in the morning.

These are, respectively, Multipliers and Diminishers.

Diminishers are the kinds of managers that sap both intelligence and energy out of their employees.

While a Diminisher is often a smart person, they’re usually focused more on their own intelligence than they are on taking advantage of the potential smarts within their team. In fact, Diminishers tend to stifle ideas, which results in employees harboring feelings of unfulfillment and inferiority.

Let’s look at an example. Vikram was a worker at Intel who had to cope with a manager who was a Diminisher. Even though this manager was an intelligent and capable scientist, he would eat up around a third of every meeting talking about his plans, while shooting down any other idea that wasn’t his own. Eventually, the impression that Vikram and his coworkers got was that their manager didn’t want them thinking for themselves!

Diminishers earn their name because these actions have a diminishing effect on the capability and productivity of their underlings.

When employees working under a Diminisher were asked about the level of effort they gave, they generally responded with numbers between 20 and 50 percent.

Multipliers, on the other hand, do the opposite: they increase the intelligence and achievements of their team.

A prototypical example of a Multiplier is the legendary basketball player Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

When Magic was a young, up-and-coming star, his high school coach always made sure the other players on the team would pass the ball to Magic so that he could score. This certainly led to the team winning games – but when the games were over, Magic would see sad or disappointed looks on the faces of his teammates’ parents.

It was then that he decided he would use his skills to help everyone on his team shine and be the best they could be. And this is how Magic earned his nickname: he had the amazing ability to raise the game of each and every teammate.

Most leaders aren’t an extreme Diminisher or Multiplier, but rather fall somewhere in between. So, next, we’ll look at some of the key Multiplier qualities you can start adopting today.

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