Multipliers: How the best leaders make everyone smarter

I recently attended Business Forum 2012 in Melbourne and witnessed Liz Wiseman keynote presentation on the concepts from her book Multipliers: How the best leaders make everyone smarter.  She discussed the experiences we have all had over the years with the very different leadership types and illustrated the benefits for every organisation to employ Multipliers.

“People won’t figure it out without me”

The Diminisher drains your intelligence and capability by supressing your talent and ambitions for their need to be the smartest person in the room.  They are known as The Empire Builder, The Tyrant, The Know-it-all, The Decision Maker and The Micromanager.

“People are smart and will figure it out”

The Multiplier amplifies the intelligence and capability of their people by engaging and encouraging thoughts that ultimately lead to results beyond initial expectations.  They are known as The Talent Magnet, The Liberator, The Challenger, The Debate Maker and The Investor.

Liz then took us through a self-reflection as part of illustrating the detrimental impact Diminishers have on organisations compared to Multipliers.  She asked the following questions:

  1. What did your Diminisher do to you?
  2. How much intelligence did they get out of you? (0-100%)
  3. What did your Multiplier do to you?
  4. How much intelligence did they get out of you? (0-100%)

There was consensus around the actions of Diminishers (they prohibit growth, supress motivation) compared to Multipliers (trigger ideas, stretch and challenge) as well as the average scores from the room at the forum (mine included) were identical to the results from Liz researching 150 leaders from 35 companies (pre and post the financial crisis) in the United States.  On average Diminishers accessed 48% of their people’s intelligence compared to Multipliers at 95%.  Therefore, it was concluded that Multipliers achieve 2 times more capability, energy and intelligence from their people than Diminishers.  The gap between the two types of leaders is quite outstanding and costly for any organisation.

http://multipliersbook.com/

Are you a Diminisher or a Multiplier?

Emotional Intelligence and Developing Others

Over the last couple of years I have been exposed to the works of Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis in relation to Emotional Intelligence (EI) and how it relates to managing and leading.  More recently I have been interested in how EI can be applied in every-day situations, particularly in the work environment with developing my employees.

I see developing others being the advancement of the interests of employees through coaching, mentoring and staff development.  Managers who understand their employees and know what motivates them are in a position to further the organisational goals at the same time as developing multi-skilled employees.  Another component is the provision of timely and constructive feedback which can take the form of performance management.

Coaching

 “…[coaching] focuses on uncovering actions that enable people to contribute more fully and productively” DuBrin, Dalglish and Miller (2006)

Coaching is a process of one on one development that can be professional and personal in nature.  Coaching creates capabilities; actionable outcomes; and increased performance.

Mentoring

 “…[mentor is] a more experienced person who helps to develop a protégé’s abilities through tutoring, coaching, guidance, and emotional support” DuBrin, Dalglish and Miller (2006)

Similarly mentoring develops capability and it is a process whereby a senior takes the junior under their wing to learn the nature of the organisation.  To this end developing others requires trust from all parties to the relationship.

EI provides a framework for the manger or leader to assist in developing others as it works hand in hand with the EI competencies of emotional self-awareness and empathy.  To be effective a manager or leader needs to exhibit an understanding of their employees if they want to be able to develop them further.  They need to gain an understanding of what motivates them; what makes them feel valued; what expectations they have; and what they see for the future.  The understanding of employees links directly with how a manger or leader builds empathy and trust with their employees.

Positive Regard

Richard Boyatzis developed a model for effective management performance and identified twenty one characteristics of management competence.  Within the human resource management cluster is the EI competency of Positive Regard which is critical in the effectiveness of managing and developing employees.  He defined positive regard as “…a competency in which people believe in others”.  Taken literally, any coach or mentor relationship that is not founded on a belief in the other person is doomed for failure with a negative impact on performance.  The belief mentioned in employees is in contrast to a belief that employees can do their jobs effectively.  It is possible to believe in the employee however that does not necessarily mean they can execute their job.

Positive regard is useful for managing relationships (coaching, mentoring or other) as effective managers are able to make others in the relationship feel valued.  From a valued relationship comes trust and respect which increases performance outcomes.  Having a positive perspective of employees is an enabler to developing and multi-skilling staff to meet organisational and personal goals.

Case Study

Garvey and Galloway (2002) provide a case study description of the beginnings of mentoring at Mentoring at the Halifax plc (HBOS).  The preliminary results of the study confirm the benefits of developing others which is evidenced from the feedback of the mentees such as providing focus; increased confidence; ability to discuss events as they occur; ability to consider alternative courses of action; and the ability to address difficult work situations.  The study also confirms the importance of the relationship with mentees stating that they felt the mentor showed a genuine interest in them; were open and honest; and they felt respected.  The results confirming why developing others is a critical competency to achieve a relationship that is beneficial for employee and organisation.

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