Are you a Talent Magnet or a Micromanager?

August 19, 2015 - 7 Comments

I care passionately about good leadership and adore discovering new books or hearing leaders speak.   I have recently discovered and met Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers, a book on leadership I highly recommend. Liz’s book is based on research of 150 leaders across Europe , Middle East and Asia and studies how some leaders can get twice as much productivity from their teams as other leaders. In her book Liz shares with you a secret and that is that good leadership starts with the intelligence of your team. At its highest level good leaders are genius makers, they make everyone smart and in doing so gain twice as much productivity as others. Twice as much productivity! Let’s think about that for a second. Do you have access to all of the intelligence in your team? Do you amplify the intelligence? Is your team getting smarter?

Further research from Liz shows that on average, managers utilize just 66% of their people’s capability. In other words 34% of their team’s capability is wasted! What’s even worse, people who are underutilised describe their experience and frustrating and exhausting.   The most talented team members quit and the less confident “quit and stay” leaving you with a morale problem that infects the culture.

Liz Wiseman describes the managers that double the productivity of their team, as “Multipliers”. Multipliers are hard-edged leaders who ask you to do the really hard things and then step back and let you struggle a bit. They are demanding and intolerant of mediocrity. Multipliers provide an intense environment because they challenge, use the intelligence of the whole team and give you permission to think and fail – after all, who wants a job they are qualified for but with nothing to learn? For these reasons people love working for a Multiplier, they are a talent magnet.

The opposite type of leader is described as the “Diminisher”. As micro managers they drain the intelligence of their team and are only focussed on their own ideas and capability. Diminishers believe that as the leader, they have all of the answers and consequently shut down the intelligence of their team and do not instil accountability.

What type of manager are you? A Multiplier or a Diminisher?

Recommendation: think about your team members, is there any evidence the team is getting smarter? Are they growing in their capacity, what role have you had to play? Think about how you could become more of a Multiplier.  If you’re a Multiplier, share your best practice with your peers! If you report to a Diminisher, call them out on their behaviour and let them know you are underutilised and want to increase your capability.

“Leaders do not create followers, they create more leaders”

Nelson Mandela.              micro-manager

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  1. Very interesting perspective Emma. Thanks for sharing. It really shows the clear distinction and significance of a collaborator vs dictator type manager.

  2. Food for thought. I have definitely achieved more when I have had multiplier managers. Also I think this principles go beyond the work place and can be applied to raising kids as well. thanks Emma

  3. Great blog Emma! I agree that being challenged allows for growth. Am definitely getting Liz Wisemans book 🙂

  4. Emma, cant agree more ““Leaders do not create followers, they create more leaders” thanks for the great blog.

  5. Completely agree with the sentiments in the blog. I have definitely grown more as an individual when I have been “left to struggle a bit” with challenges given to me. Its also amazing to see how resourceful you become in those situations.

  6. Glad you like it Dorothy! It is good to reflect on the different managers we have had and what we can learn. The feedback is so consistent on what makes a “good” manager vs a “bad” manager yet many get it wrong still!

  7. Very inspiring, I can pick the multipliers who have been instrumental in my career. Definitely more to gain as a Multiplier. Love it!
    Banking this for my next leadership role #OnwardandUpward