What Multipliers is About
The tagline of “Multipliers” is pretty compelling: “How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter”. As a leader in a small business myself, I loved the idea of bringing out the best in people so we can collectively punch above our weight.
While a bit repetitive at times (I certainly found myself scanning through areas of the book), Liz Wiseman outlines what holds us back as leaders and what small business owners can do to enhance their leadership skills and build a thriving business.
"Multipliers" differentiates between two types of leaders:
- Multipliers - who amplify the intelligence and capabilities of their teams,
- Diminishers - who inadvertently suppress their team.
For small business owners, adopting the Multiplier mindset can have a huge impact as each team member's contribution is significant.
Wiseman identifies five disciplines of Multiplier Leaders:
- Talent Magnet - They attract and optimize talent, creating an environment where every team member's unique abilities are recognized and leveraged.
- Liberator - They foster a culture of intellectual freedom and rigor, encouraging team members to think creatively and express their ideas without fear.
- Challenger - They push the team to stretch beyond their perceived limits by setting challenging goals and stimulating innovative problem-solving.
- Debate Maker - They drive sound decisions by facilitating vigorous debates that ensure all perspectives and ideas are thoroughly explored and considered.
- Investor - They instill ownership and accountability by providing the necessary resources and autonomy, allowing team members to take charge and grow.
For each discipline, Wiseman provides common diminishing activities, key actions and takeaways. I found myself identifying with a lot of (accidental) diminishing activities and how I might do better in the future.
While I read the book, I reflected on my leadership actions. I identified some areas for new action and also where I could improve my accidental diminisher tendencies.
I am going to identify and focus on the strengths of each team member. It’s about seeing where our team members excel and creating opportunities for them to use and grow their strengths.
This not only amplifies their contributions but also boosts overall motivation and effectiveness. Who doesn’t like doing what they are really good at and getting recognized for it?
I realized one of my diminishing activities included prematurely sharing underdeveloped ideas and not engaging enough with my team.
I realized that my ideas are often taken as marching orders, which can overwhelm the team. In response, I am going to start asking more questions and be more sparse with my ideas, instead fostering more engaged discussion.
Actionable Steps for Small Business Owners
One key overarching idea that I took from the book is that no one sees the business like you do. You are able to see connections that no one else can and it’s your duty to act on what you see. It can be tough to know what to do though, which is where the book excels.
There are many actionable items in the book, but these are a good place to start:
- Identify Team Strengths - Regularly assess the unique skills and strengths of each team member. Create roles and tasks that allow them to showcase and develop these strengths.
- Cultivate Open Communication - Encourage open dialogue and actively seek input from your team by asking lots of questions. This helps in building trust and ensures that all voices are heard.
- Foster a Growth Environment - Challenge your team with new opportunities that stretch them and let them know that mistakes are okay. Support them to take calculated risks and learn from outcomes.
- Reflect on Your Leadership - Continuously evaluate your own leadership style. Identify any diminishing behaviors and actively work to transform them into empowering ones. You can start by reading the book!
- Encourage Ownership and Accountability - Empower your team members by entrusting them with responsibilities and providing the necessary support to achieve their goals. This builds confidence and a sense of ownership.
These are just a small sample of the action items you could use" in your small business, but might help in fostering a more empowered, innovative, and productive team.
On our journey to build a thriving business, we can distinguish our activities as working in the business or on the business, on the urgent or the important. Leadership is squarely an important activity where we are working on the business. It’s hard work!
This book provides a great outline for upgrading this activity to get more out of your business. It helps us work smarter rather than harder.
Regardless of your experience in leadership, I think everyone can take something out of this book and reduce a diminishing activity and/or enhance a multiplying one, I know I did!