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Op-Ed: Which leader are you? That’s an important question

As a business owner – and THE leader of your company – I have a question for you.

Does your leadership style multiply or diminish?

Do you multiply (think amplify) your team’s own leadership skills and talents?

Or are you (intentionally or accidentally) diminishing the team’s own leadership skills and talents?

One of the hallmarks of good leadership is to have a mindset of being a lifelong learner. When we continue to learn and apply, we become a better leader, one that inspires our people to bring the best; develops and hones the team’s skills to predict and delegate. That’s where the lift comes into the business. That’s where you take a business from good to GREAT.

Great leadership multiples and amplifies the capabilities of others.

In the book “Multipliers”, the author Liz Wiseman talks about three types of leaders in organizations:

The Diminisher. Sitting on one end of the leadership spectrum, Diminishers are the type of leader that just sucks the life out of their people. Everything is about them. They have to have their mark on everything. No one else’s idea is as good as their own idea.

Not only are Diminishers exhausting, eventually the squashing of ideas will cause people to shut down or quit because they perceive their value to the organization has diminished.

The Multiplier. In contrast, on the other end of the spectrum stands the Multiplier. This is the kind of leader people will go through walls for. It is not that they are necessarily easy. They challenge. They push. They provide opportunities, jobs and tasks that really stretch out the team’s capabilities. Yet they do it in a nurturing way.

They create a culture where the team grows and knows they can trust them. Multipliers have the team’s back and if something doesn’t go well, they’ll guide the team back on track.

The Accidental Diminisher. This third type of leader that Wiseman discovered and it turns out to be a leadership style that nearly all of us have deployed to one extent or another. The Accidental Diminisher is the well-intended manager or leader whose behaviors are having completely unintended consequences. They are unaware that their “helpful” actions are actually causing their people to shut down rather than step up.

Don’t worry, there is room to grow in all of us.

Wiseman also outlines a number of actionable steps that can implement to overcome those behaviors and move from being that Accidental Diminisher to being a Multiplier. And as Wiseman states, “The critical skill isn’t what you know, but it’s your ability to access what your people know.”

During her research, she found that Multipliers get almost two times the capability out of a team that Diminishers got. To look at it another way, Diminishers received only 30% to 50% of the team’s capabilities while Multipliers were getting 80% to 100% from their people.

To put those percentages in perspective, let’s say you have a $1 million payroll. With a team full of Diminishers, at a rate of 30% capability, that’s only $300,000 of value on that million dollar spend! You might as well put the other $700,000 in the fireplace and burn it. That is not chump change. That’s how significant this is in organizations.

So if you are interested in doubling the capability of your people, read “Multipliers” and start putting the insights to work with yourself and other leaders in your organization. This will raise the level of competence with your leaders, and allow the organization to “multiply” and prosper.

Tom Garrity is managing partner at Compass Point Consulting LLC in Hanover Township, Northampton County. He can be reached at tgarrity@compasspt.

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