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Top Books: Multipliers

Each of us has a story about that boss who was a total pain in the, well, you know. And if you're lucky, really lucky, you just might have a story to share about that fabulous boss, the boss you loved—the one you would have walked on hot coals for—the one who made coming to work a genuine treat.

Those bosses have the ability to make each of their employees better and even smarter. You know the type—they’re the kind of manager who, when they walk into a room, everyone is on their game. No one wants to be caught off-guard when they are in the presence of what the authors of a new book call a ‘Multiplier.”

"Multipliers" by Liz Wiseman
"Multipliers" by Liz Wiseman

In "Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter" authors Liz Wisemanand Greg McKeownexplain how these bosses are able to get the most and the very best from their employees.

The timing is perfect, with the economy and job market the way it is, we need these Multipliers to well, umm multiply.

And here's why.

A Multiplier can amplify the smarts and capabilities of those around them – they are as Wiseman and McKeown define them, 'genius makers'. These managers are able to better use the brainpower of those people they already have within their organization.

Their exact opposite are called “Diminishers” – those are the folks who literally drain all the enthusiasm, smarts, energy and capabilities from others.

Analyzing the data from more than 150 leaders, the authors found that Multipliers and Diminishers actually have radically different views about the actual intelligence of people they work with. Diminishers have what you might call an "elitist view of intelligence" whereas "multipliers assume that there are smart people everywhere; you just have to find out how you can amplify their talents. And, if it means going around the company’s org chart, so be it."

And as you would expect - the management style of these two camps differs dramatically.

The book details five disciplines in which Multipliers manage radically different from their counterparts including:

  1. Attract and Optimize Talent – Multipliers lead people by operating as Talent Magnet which allows them to attract and deploy talent to its fullest potential
  2. Create Intensity That Requires the Best Thinking – Multipliers are Liberators, establishing a highly motivating work environment where everyone is free to think and expected to do their best work
  3. Extend Challenges – Multipliers operate as Challengers by seeding opportunities, laying down a challenge and generating a belief that it can be done
  4. Debate Decisions – Multipliers engage people in debating issues upfront, leading to decisions that people understand and can execute
  5. Instill Ownership and Accountability – Multipliers are Investors, establishing high expectations and hold themselves and others accountable to these standards

Tough job, tough bosses.

Multipliers are not the feel-good, soft around the edges bosses. The authors found in most cases the managers are hard-edged, tough and exacting. They clearly express what is needed and wanted and are able to generate results from those around them.

The book is loaded with great examples of Multipliers and Diminishers. If you're honest with yourself you'll be able to see in which camp you fall. And if you're not happy with the results, and you find that you are a so-called, "Accidental Diminisher", the book offers real advice on how you can make the switch - to get more from yourself and from those you lead.

Multipliers will make you believe in leadership again.

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