Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter
May 23, 2017
Liz Wiseman's brilliant book on engaging and developing workers in a way that multiplies what they have offer has been revised and expanded, and is out now.
Increasing the productivity of industrial workers was a relatively straightforward process. You could invest in improving the equipment and manufacturing technology they used, increase efficiency by streamlining the production process, and pull other real-world, tangible levers to increase what an individual worker could produce. But how do you increase the productivity of knowledge workers? Information, communications, and networking technology was supposed to do the trick, but most measures have shown it actually makes us less productive. Liz Wiseman's brilliant book, Multipliers, has an answer, and it arrived at the perfect time—in 2010, when we were emerging from the Great Recession and organizations were strapped for resources. Since then, Wiseman has learned a lesson many writers encounter once they've released a book:
As many authors will confess, the most important insights on a subject tend to come long after the is written.
If there is one thing that information technology has added to the workplace, it is this:
With the explosion of information … doubling every nine months in science and technology, there is simply too much for any one person to know. Consequently, the role of the leader has shifted, too—moving away from a model where the manager knows, directs, and tells toward one where the leader sees, provokes, asks, and unleashes the capabilities of others.
The best leaders today, those that get the most our of their people, operate with the understanding that "the person sitting at the apex of the intelligence hierarchy is the genius maker, not the genius."
When a leader feels they are responsible for doing all the thinking, answering every question, and making every decision, they unintentionally turn off the intelligence of those they are leading. Leaders who give people permission to think for themselves engage the intelligence of employees, utilize their full capabilities, and make them more productive—even smarter—in the process. Engaging intelligence grows intelligence.
The irony of ineffective leadership is that it leads to employees that are both "overworked and underutilized." Micromanaging, on top of being bad for morale, limits what people can contribute to what you've predetermined it should be. It diminishes what they're allowed to contribute. Effective leaders—Multipliers—stretch their people's capacity and capability in a way that is energizing, rather than overworked.
It requires a simple shift in thinking from resource allocation to resource leverage.
Resource leverage is a far richer concept than merely "accomplishing more with less." Multipliers don't don't get more with less; the get more by using more.
It's not about driving your people hard, but challenging them, treating them like the fully capable people they are, and allowing them to contribute fully. It requires a realization that intelligence and talent are abundant resources rather than scarce ones, and a dedication to finding the ways in which your people are uniquely talented and how to develop it further.
You can manage people in a way that produces subordination and dependency, or in a way that liberates them to do their best work—and makes them smarter in the process of doing it. It is the difference between using your employees and developing them, controlling them or supporting them. If you want to get on the latter path, Multipliers has now been revised and expanded, and is available now.
We have 20 copies available.