What type of leader are you?

What type of leader are you?

At some point, we have all worked with someone who made us feel weak, stupid or incompetent and it is likely that person got far less from us than our best effort. Similarly, there will be someone in our past who inspired us to do our best.

Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, describes these two types of leaders as “Multipliers” and “Diminishers”. The difference between these two types is based purely on how a leader treats the people around them.

Wiseman’s research included interviews with 150 executives in 35 countries and established that Multipliers got twice as much effort from their employees than Diminishers received. In fact, Diminishers, on average, got only 48% of people’s “intelligence and capability.”

Multipliers see people as smart and capable of figuring out how to solve problems. They find ways to empower their team and they have the following attributes:

  1. They debate. They include employees as well as those involved in the decision-making process.
  2. They don’t provide easy answers. Multipliers keep people under pressure and ask questions that will help them arrive at an answer.
  3. They create challenges. This gets people’s full attention, effort and best thinking.
  4. They hold people accountable. Accountability helps others feel that they have ownership over their actions.

Diminishers assume that even smart people need their help; they can be tyrants or micromanagers and tend to possess one more of the following attributes:

  1. They think too big. They see a grand vision but don’t connect the dots for those around them, resulting in a lack of enthusiasm as people can’t see a way to achieve their goals.
  2. They brainstorm too much. People become frustrated by the constant change in direction and don’t have enough time to see their original ideas through.
  3. They help too much. These “rescuers” believe they are helping their team, when in fact they are creating dependency.

If you find that you have diminishing qualities, try to ask the right questions instead of providing what you think are the right answers. Hold back on the ideas: working with a limited number of ideas also allows people time to focus and think them through. Finally, make your team accountable for coming up with complete solutions.

Are you a Multiplier or a Diminisher?

Adapted from an article by Mircea Vlaicu, www.docstoc.com

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