Multipliers

I've read Multipliers  by Liz Wiseman before. It's such a great short read that when it came out on audio this year I re-"read" it.  Here's a summary of the salient points:


  1. There are two types of leaders: Multipliers and Diminishers.  Multipliers scale by empowering people, whereas Diminishers are micro-managers who believes they are the smartest person in the room.  This concept strikes me as similar to Dan Pink's TEDtalk on how best leaders provide their team with Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.  The book Work Happy also echoes this sentiment.
  2. Multipliers are Genius Makers who amplifies the genius of those around them.  Followers of Genius Makers repeatedly report that they have become 130% smarter and more productive from working for the Genius Maker.  Multipliers achieve this with a "growth" mindset.  This concept is echoed in another book I read called Bounce.
  3. Practice "Genius Watching" to become a great Multiplier.  Genius Watching involves observing the inherent ability that a person has, labeling it, and leveraging it.  The inherent ability is so natural that he/she will perform the ability without being asked and with great joy.  As fish is the last to learn about water, so is the target person usually the last to discover their great inherent ability.  That's why labeling it for the person is important.  To leverage it,  place the person in a spot in the company that greatly draws upon their inherent ability. It's the same as casting the right person for the role in a film. This makes the person happy because he/she is contributing at his or her sweet spot, and the company benefits from having the highest possible job efficiency in that role. 
  4. Multipliers are not roses and candy leaders. They have high expectations.  One common question Multipliers ask is "Is this your best work?".  This question gives the person autonomy to make a change but holds him/her accountable for the outcome. It is at once empowering and tough.  Multipliers believe 
  5. Multiplier encourages group debate in order to develop collective intelligence. This enables people to feel empowered and work without the presence of the Multiplier. So the Multiplier manager can actually take a break.  What's not to like?


While I agree with many of the concepts in this book, I believe it makes the assumption that the workforce managed by your Multiplier manager is self-motivated and high-achieving individuals.  While there is an argument that all people want to feel a sense of belonging and contribute to a group in their sweet spot, I have met individuals who are either poorly managed or do not possess motivation of this kind towards work. They may fulfill this need for belonging through their contributions at home, and thus lack motivation for anything other than a paycheck at work.  While this book addresses many good points, I think it has an insular view of a specific type of organization where the majority of employees value work as an important part of who they are as individuals.  I urge you to keep this in mind when applying the concepts in your context.