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Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter Hardcover – June 15, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Drawing on interviews with more than 150 executives and on her own experience as a former executive at the Oracle Corporation and the former vice president of Oracle University, Weisman argues that executives fall into two distinct leadership categories: Multipliers and Diminishers. Unsurprisingly, Multipliers turn out to be better leaders: unlike Diminishers—self-centered empire builders who tear employees down—Multipliers attract talent, liberate employees to do their best and step out of their comfort zones, make decisions rather than promoting unproductive debate, and invest in human capital. While spotlights on such Multipliers as Mitt Romney, a Talent Magnet at Bain Capital and beyond, and Steven Spielberg, who fosters an open environment on his film sets, are appealing and instructive, the major points are repetitive. Chapters drag on after descriptions of distinctive Multiplier or Diminisher behavior have been made. The breadth of the material is better suited for a lengthy article than a full business book, and the effort to stretch it into a longer work diminishes the meaningful research. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Why do some genius-level leaders seem to drain intelligence and performance out of the people around them, while others stimulate, motivate, and get so much more out of their work associates? Wiseman labels the former group, people who need to be the smartest person in the room, as diminishers, while the latter are multipliers, people who use their smarts to stimulate and enhance the creativity of the group. Both authors are connected with the Wiseman Group, a leadership research center that advises senior executives and provides workshops and leadership assessments around the world. By analyzing 150 executives across America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, the authors have identified what they consider the five most important disciplines that help managers to think and act more like multipliers, bringing people together, and giving others on the team more freedom, power, and responsibility, which ultimately generates self-worth and satisfaction. The book is a well-organized sytem that could be used as a personal tool or as a workbook for team-development seminars. --David Siegfried
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Much of what constitutes good leadership can be summarized in two words: respect and selflessness.
How we relate to those two words will determine how we lead. Consider two assumptions that lie at the opposite ends of the spectrum:
• Really intelligent people are a rare breed and I am one of the few really smart people. People will never be able to figure things out without me. I need to have all the answers.
• Smart people are everywhere and will figure things out and get even smarter in the process. My job is to ask the right questions.
What you believe has a big impact on the performance, engagement, loyalty and the transparency you find with those you lead and interact with. In Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, authors Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown refer to those with the mindset represented by the first assumption as Diminshers and those with the mindset represented by the second assumption as Multipliers. It explains why some leaders create intelligence around them, while others diminish it.
The value of Multipliers is that is shows what these assumptions about people look like in practice and how they are reflected in your behavior. How would you approach your job differently if you believed that people are smart and can figure it out? With a Multiplier mindset, people will surprise you. They will give more. You will learn more. What kind of solutions could we generate if you could access the underutilized brainpower in the world? How much more could you accomplish?
It’s not that Diminishers don’t get things done. They do. It’s just that the people around them feel drained, overworked and underutilized. Some leaders seem to drain the “intelligence and capability out of the people around them. Their focus on their own intelligence and their resolve to be the smartest person in the room [has] a diminishing effect on everyone else. For them to look smart, other people had to end up looking dumb.” In short, Diminishers are absorbed in their own intelligence, stifle others, and deplete the organization of crucial intelligence and capability.
Multipliers get more done by leveraging (using more) of the intelligence and capabilities of the people around them. They respect others. “Multipliers are leaders who look beyond their own genius and focus their energy on extracting and extending the genius of others.” These are not “feel good” leaders. “They are tough and exacting managers who see a lot of capacity in others and want to utilize that potential to the fullest.”
The authors have identified five key behaviors or disciplines that distinguish Multipliers from Diminishers. You are not either/or but are somewhere along a continuum. These are all learned behaviors and have everything to do with how you view people. We don’t have to be great in all disciplines to be a Multiplier, but we have to be at least neutral in those disciplines we struggle with.
This exceptional book closes guidance on becoming a Multiplier (there is also a 360 degree assessment at www.multipliersbook.com to enable the reader to identify their position along the Multiplier-Diminisher continuum.
It is a bit over-optimistic about how productive workers are when left alone. Sometimes people need to be pushed. This book talked a lot about what managers should NOT do, but didn't offer enough of what they SHOULD do.
Overall, a great book.
However, there are weaknesses with the book, which explains the four-star rating of this review:
-The concept of the "Multiplier" is presented as if having been discovered in this book's research. Effective leaders have existed for thousands of years, and have understood these principles. An improvement to this book would be to tone down the claim of originality and provide more historical examples of "Multipliers" and not rely on so many contemporary examples.
-The cookies are too low. The book's content is intellectually elementary and is almost too easy to read or boring at some points. Much of the content relies too heavily on stories. As a result, the book could have been considerably shorter.
-Too politically correct. One could apply chapter four, "The Challenger" in challenging the politically correct assumptions made in this book. Such include chapter 3, "The Liberator," which relies on the assumption that hierarchical organizations breed tyrants. No real explanation of this is provided. Other examples include listing persons such as Obama and Hillary wonderful leaders. Real people exist who believe that such folks should not be in leadership at all.
-Bay Area Bubble. Many of the stories, examples, and vocabulary come right out of Silicon Valley. At times the author does not seem to realize that there is a world outside of the Bay Area, in which are industries not directly related to technology.