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Articles > Are You A Multiplier or A Diminisher? #109 9-28-10

I’ve worked for good managers and bad managers. Is there a way to help a bad manager become a good manager?

 If you’ve felt the effects of good management and poor management you’re not alone.  On Monday of last week in our Gazelle’s Coaches monthly meeting we had the opportunity to hear Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers, How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter.  A quick reminder that monthly meetings should have a segment dedicated to provide learning, problem solving or planning opportunity.  


Wiseman describes good managers as multipliers and bad managers as diminishers.  A bad manager in Gallup’s research isn’t necessarily someone who is simply negative.  Gallup’s research indicates that a bad manager [someone whose subordinates are disengaged] is one who ignores their subordinates.  It’s a reminder that the greatest hurt isn’t being admonished, it’s being ignored. You can read more on Gallup research at Driving Engagement by Focusing on Strengths. 


The leadership style of a multiplier according to Wiseman is described as: genius makers, bringing out the intelligence in others, building collective, viral intelligence in organization.


Contrast that to a diminisher: absorbed in their own intelligence, stifling others, and depleting the organization of crucial intelligence and capability.


Did you recognize anyone from your past experience?  Is there someone managing at your company now that fits this description?  Which one are you?  Good managers can have a dramatic impact on your business.  The best managers are those who can get the most out of the people that work with them.   According to Wiseman, a bad manager [diminisher] can become a good manager [multiplier].  

A great example of this is the story she offered us about Bill Campbell.  You’ve probably never heard of Bill Campbell, however you’ve certainly heard of the companies and people he coaches.   Steve Jobs, Apple and Eric Schmidt of Google are two of the CEO’s and companies he coaches.  Bill readily admitted to Liz Wiseman that when he started as a manager he was clearly a diminisher.   As a possible reflection of this is his record as head football coach of Columbia University where his teams went 12-41-1.   It wasn’t until he changed his style to those corresponding to the disciplines of a multiplier that he began to achieve becoming the CEO of Intuit, and now a highly respected coach to some of the most respected and distinguished businesses in the world.  I find it interesting that Liz Wiseman’s descriptions for multipliers versus diminishers are labeled as “Disciplines.”

Multipliers have the ability to extract people’s full capability, and are therefore capable of getting twice the capability from their people as diminishers. 


Would you like to discover whether you are a multiplier or diminisher?  Take the Accidental Diminisher Quiz.  As this quiz points out, you may be an accidental diminisher, unaware of how your actions impact your team.


As I pointed out the good news is a diminisher or bad manager can become a good one.  Wiseman dedicates a chapter in her book to becoming a multiplier highlighting some of the lessons Bill Campbell learned. 


This type of learning and growth should be critical to you and your business.   I’d like to remind you of the great opportunity you have to take two days next month to sharpen your saw.  October 19-20 in Orlando is Gazelles and Fortune’s Growth Summit with a list of great speakers that includes Liz Wiseman, Chip Heath [Co-Author of Switch, How to Change When Change is Hard and Made to Stick], plus D.J. Sokol, Warren Buffet’s Mr. Fix it.  If you do come make sure to let me know and introduce yourself.  It’s an exciting two days of learning and I assure you, you’ll come back with many more ideas than you can implement, and one or two that will more than pay for your trip.

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