Friday, May 30, 2014

Management Book Review: Multipliers

Review below also appeared in the latest edition of the California Library Association Management Interest Group Newsletter LEAD.

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

by Liz Wiseman & Greg McKeown

The book Multipliers, in my mind, falls into the category of servant leadership: encouraging employees to give their best, providing the resources they need, and getting out of the way. Authors Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown take this a bit further to create a better definition of the concept.

There are two kinds of managers, multipliers and diminishers. The main goal for multipliers is to get employees to think for themselves, come up with creative solutions, and harvest their potential. It’s not about the manager or the leader, but about the employees who are making things happen. Intelligence and capability can be multiplied in this way, without getting more staff or more resources. Diminishers, on the other hand, make everything about them. They have the great idea; things must always be done their way. It’s much like the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. The employees cower and hope to get transferred, or work somewhere else very soon. These employees don’t give their best; they focus on getting away. The authors are very detailed on how to become a multiplier, how to identify a diminisher, and remind us that anyone can have both traits without intending to do so.

There are five key disciplines for a multiplier:
  1. Attract and optimize talent
  2. Create intensity that requires best thinking (remove fear of failure and create safety for best thinking)
  3. Extend challenges
  4. Debate decisions
  5. Instill ownership and accountability

There are also tips to identify talent:
  1.  Look for talent everywhere
  2.  Find people’s native genius (they might not realize they have it)
  3. Utilize people at their fullest
  4. Remove the blockers
  5. What do they do without effort, better than everyone, without being asked, without compensation?

This book helped hone some already believed truths. It provides a more concrete idea to help an organization act smarter, be more efficient, and have employees who love what they do. I really enjoyed the read and felt it provided a clear path for me to follow, as well as pitfalls to avoid.