There seems to be two types of leaders in the world – those who seem to boost the IQ of others and those who suck the mental life out of their employees. Have you ever worked for someone who was highly intelligent and yet, had a tendency to either overtly or subtly, shut you down?
Some leaders can amplify intelligence creating a collective, viral intensified IQ in their organizations as if they were multipliers. Other leaders act as diminishers and deplete the organization of crucial intelligence and capacity.
What is it that multipliers do that is different from diminishers? The research confirms that multipliers not only access people’s current capability, they stretch it. They get more from people than they knew they had to give. People reported actually getting smarter around multipliers, (Multipliers, Liz Wiseman, Greg McKeown).
Dennis worked for George, who had a reputation for running successful businesses. Every business he ran was profitable and grew under his leadership. What was distinctive about George was the impact he has on the people around him. Dennis said George made everyone around him feel smart and because of this he got a 100 percent from his employees. Dennis said it was exhilarating to work for George.
George grew people’s intelligence by engaging it. He was never about being the center of attention. He didn’t worry about how smart he was. He worked at extracting the smarts and maximum effort from each member of his team. In a meeting he would speak about 10 percent of the time maybe to fine tune the problem statement. He would then back away and give his team space to figure out an answer.
Years later, Dennis went on to work for Greg, who was a brilliant man who was promoted into management. He left his mark on everyone and everything around him. Greg was a leader who did all the thinking. He was very smart, but people had a way of shutting down around him. He killed everyone’s ideas. In a team meeting he did 30 percent of the talking and left little space for others. He had strong opinions and put his energy into selling his ideas to others. No one else’s opinion mattered. Greg may have hired intelligent people, but they soon realized that they didn’t have permission to think for themselves. Dennis said his job became more like cranking than creating. He said the company only got about 50 percent of what he had to offer.
Dennis remembers, when working for George, he held nothing back. He gave his best thinking, creativity, and ideas. He gave more than his job required volunteering extra time, energy, and resources. He actively sought for more valuable ways to contribute, holding himself to the highest standards. He gave 100 percent of his ability and then some.
The leaderwho is a diminisher thinks they are a rare breed of the few really smart people. They doubt that other people will ever figure things out without them. They conclude that people will never get it and they need to do the thinking for everyone. In contrast, the leader who is a multiplier, creates a highly motivating work environment, where everyone has permission to think, and the space to do their best work.
Multipliers create a climate that is both comfortable and intense. They remove fear and create safety that invites people to do their best thinking. At the same time, they also create an intense environment that demands people’s greatest effort. In contrast, a diminishing leader operates like a tyrant introducing a fear of judgment that has a chilling effect on people’s thinking and work. They demand people’s best thinking, yet they don’t get it.
A leader who is a multiplier is a liberator, challenger, debate maker, and investor. The leader, who is a diminisher is a tyrant, know-it-all, decision maker, and a micromanager. The multiplier expects great things from their people and they drive people to achieve extraordinary results. They are tough and exacting making people feel smart and capable. The multiplying leaders are not “feel good” managers. They look into people and find capability and want to access all of it. They utilize people to their fullest. They see a lot, so they expect a lot.
The multiplierwho has our best interests at heart is the Lord Jesus Christ. He stretches us, makes us smarter, motivates us to do our best, he removes fear and creates a safe secure environment. He will get from us things we didn’t know we had to give all because His Spirit is at work in us.
Live all of who you are in Jesus, the Mighty Multiplier, all to His glory.