Are You a Multiplier or a Diminisher?

    Are You a Multiplier or a Diminisher?

    Drawing on interviews with more than 150 executives and on her own experience as the former vice president of Oracle University, Liz Wiseman, author of the book Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, argues that leaders are either Multipliers or Diminishers:

    We’ve all had experience with two dramatically different types of leaders. The first type drains intelligence, energy and capability from the people around them and always needs to be the smartest person in the room. These are the idea killers, the energy sappers, the diminishers of talent and commitment.

    On the other side of the spectrum are leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. These are the leaders who inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations. These are the Multipliers. And the world needs more of them, especially now when leaders are expected to do more with less.

    For this week’s blog, I interviewed Wiseman to get her take on how small business owners can multiply or diminish those who work for them.

    Q. What exactly is a multiplier?

    A. A multiplier is someone who uses his or her intelligence to amplify and bring out the smarts and capability of those around them.

    Q. What is a diminisher?

    A. The multiplier’s evil counterpart who always needs to be the smartest guy in the room and shuts everyone else down.

    Q. What other differences did you find between managers who are multipliers and managers who are diminishers?

    A. To begin with, there is a big difference in how each of these types sets direction. Diminishers tend to be know-it-alls in how they set direction. They base strategy on their insight. They only see what they know and then never ask their company to do something other than that. In this way, they limit what’s possible in an organization because their business can only take on something they have an answer to or know how to do.

    Q. What about managers who are multipliers?

    A. In contrast, multipliers play the role of challenger. They ask the big strategic questions and contribute what they know of the markets and trends to frame up the organization’s challenge. They ask questions that make the organization stretch and take on something that seems impossible, but frame it in a way that makes it possible.

    Q. Don’t multipliers add their own knowledge to the mix?

    A. Yes, but they are comfortable asking questions. They have a strategic agenda, but not all the answers. They let the organization figure it out.

    Q. Is the way a business owner makes decisions impacted by which type they are?

    A. Yes. Diminishers are the decision maker. They are quick to determine what should happen and isolate themselves to an inner circle of trusted advisers. Their point of view is that the smart people in the know should make the decisions, and the rest of the company should execute.

    Q. How does this impact the rest of the business?

    A. The problem with this is that the diminisher thinks they are being effective and agile because they are making rapid decisions. But the rest of the company is struggling to understand why these decisions were made, so they are slow to execute. So diminishers make great strategic decisions that don’t get implemented very quickly or effectively.

    Q. How do multipliers approach this?

    A. Multipliers tend to be debate makers. They frame a decision with, “Here are the key questions,” and then assemble brainpower and key players to weigh in on the topic. It may take longer to make the decisions, but because everyone has had their voice heard and has insight into why something is being implemented, the decisions are executed more intelligently and rapidly.

    Q. How big is the difference really in the results diminishers versus multipliers get from their people?

    A. We studied 150 leaders in 35 different countries across four continents and found that diminishers got less than half of people’s intelligence and capability — about 48 percent. Multipliers, on the other hand, got twice as much (1.97 times) greater intelligence and capability out of their people.

    In the end, Wiseman says that staff reported that working for both diminishers and multipliers could be exhausting. But here’s the difference: Those who worked for diminishers said they found it exhausting and frustrating, while those who worked for multipliers found it exhausting yet exhilarating.

    Are you more of a diminisher or a multiplier? In what way? We would love to hear your comments.

    Three Steps To Declutter Your Computer

    Three Steps To Declutter Your Computer

    This past Sunday was both Easter and the Masters golf tournament. We had no Easter plans, and I’m not a golfer, so while my husband whooped and hollered at Bubba Watson’s superstar shot, I spent a good four-hour period decluttering my computer.

    OK. At this point, I know you’re thinking what a sad little life I have, but seriously, I couldn’t take it anymore. My computer had become the junk drawer of my electronic life. Files were stacked ten to a one-room apartment, e-mails were gathering mold in dark corners and bookmarks were living in squalor. So much so that finding things on my desktop and hard drive had begun taking up significant amounts of time.

    Somewhere along the path of my usually organized online life, entropy had seeped in, and my electronic desktop became a dumping ground. But, why is it so important to clean out our computers? Really, for the same reason we clean out our desks. It makes it easier to find what we are looking for.

    One study by Account Temps published in the Wall Street Journal estimated that office workers spend an average of six weeks per year looking for things. If you combine this with the fact 70 percent of U.S. households have a computer, it’s not hard to see that one of the places we are looking for documents, information etc. is our computers.

    Below is a simple three-step process you can follow to do a basic declutter of your computer and begin the process of simplifying your electronic life.

    Step One: Set up a logical filing system.

    • Try to mirror your paper filing system on your computer. The more your main folders resemble the names and categories you use to file paper, the easier it will be for you to both find and file various documents.

    • Create a “working file” or “pending” folder, which lives on your desktop and can hold anything you are currently working on and need to access quickly and easily. While much of your computer may be used for the archiving of information, the “working file” folder can hold the most relevant information and projects.    

    Step Two: Organize your bookmarks.

    Just as you may have random files floating around your hard drive, you more than likely have a ton of bookmarks that are not organized in any particular way.

    Go under “bookmarks” and choose the “organize” feature. This will allow you to make folders with logical names that you can group and move your various bookmarks into. For example: the next time you want to find this article on The Huffington Post, rather than having to search through a long list of bookmarks, you will be able to easily and quickly find it under the folder you have created marked “Articles.”

    Step Three: Clean up your hard drive.

    Because computer capability has increased so much over the past few years, storage on most computers is not a big issue. The downside of all this increased space is that a lot of people have a bad habit of using their computer as a storage unit, or even a dumping ground, for holding all kinds of information, whether it is still relevant or not. A few ways to clean up your computer include:

    •Deleting any old working drafts of documents that are no longer needed or have been replaced by more updated versions.

    •Deleting files that you created but never did anything with or have no documents in.

    •Eliminating files that have different names but contain the same duplicate materials.   

    •Dumping files that are so old that the information in them is outdated and never used.

    One caution: If you need to keep any files for a legal reason, either:

    •Print them out on paper and keep a hard copy.

    •Create a special folder on the computer for “legal.”

    •Transfer them to a backup disk.  

    OK, now that you have a plan to follow, set aside 15 minutes each day this coming week (first thing in the morning works well) to work on decluttering your computer. Please leave me a comment at the bottom of this article to let me know how it’s going.

    This post was originally published at Karen Leland’s Featured Small Business column on The Huffington Post.