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Leadership Multiplied: How The Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

Written by Bill Seelig on October 19, 2015

Leadership Management

 Leadership_Multiplied"I wish my employees would take more responsibility?" How many times have you heard yourself say that? As owners of growing businesses we find ourselves working longer hours, making more decisions and feeling like we’re losing control of the business we’ve worked so hard to create.

Getting Results as a Multiplier

Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown in their best seller "Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter", describe their study of leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. These leaders inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations. They call these executives Multipliers and contrast them to those they call Diminishers. The latter being those executives who rush in with their own plans or solutions, greatly underestimating the ability and resourcefulness of their employees; leaving their people feeling marginalized and unchallenged. Bottom-line, their research showed that Multipliers get dramatically better results from their people… a 2x multiplier effect.

As a Certified EOS Implementer with years as a consult/coach to business owners, I resonate with the importance of the multiplier concept. All too often owners and managers struggle with letting go and the creation of a climate where managers and teams are challenged and expected to draw on their own unique genius to solve problems and execute in resourceful, successful ways. 

There are many similarities between Wesiman’s research and our EOS philosophy and practices. For example, her suggestions for attracting, engaging and challenging smart, ambitious, talented individuals include:

  1. Look for talent everywhere, continually search for people’s natural genius and explore ways to utilize that talent to its fullest.
  2. Become good at defining opportunities within your company that dare your leadership team members to stretch beyond what they know how to do. Seed those opportunities with a challenge and generate belief.
  3. Clarify the challenge or opportunity, the specific results expected and give them the ownership to proceed. Put these in writing whenever possible.
  4. Create the space for them to develop their plan, to grapple with and learn from the issues involved, to implement their solutions and measure the results.

Her research also supports our EOS process and experience in building dynamic, collaborative, results oriented leadership teams:

  1. Build an intensely focused work environment that requires concentration, diligence and dynamic energy. Demand that people bring their best work to the table.
  2. Have a defined focus and agenda for business meetings and expect people to come prepared… Example: Our Level 10 meeting process.
  3. Facilitate. Expect and encourage balanced participation and dialogue amongst members and collaboration on decisions, action steps, outcome measures and results.
  4. Recognize team successes, the contributions of individuals and, when needed, remove those who are unwilling to participate in the collaboration process.

The journey to expand ourselves as Multiplier leaders is complex, requiring us to thoughtfully lead through others and simultaneously let go of our more traditional top down role as the boss. It’s particularly difficult for those successful owners who are transitioning from small, owner lead companies to larger, team lead organizations. On the other hand, our move, in Wiseman’s terms from "genius to genius maker"can have substantial, long-term benefits for us personally, for our employees and for the growth and success of our business enterprise.

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