Well here it is. Today. A wonder that it comes around again and again. A blank canvass ready for us to grab our metaphorical paints and create a masterpiece, or not. What are you up to today? I have just returned from a dog walk. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts whilst in the majesty of nature. Most times it is business books, or coaching and mentorship, the occasional Pratchett thrown in for a lighter comedic experience. This morning I continued listening to Multipliers, by Liz Wiseman. It fascinates me the combination of the ‘human condition’ combined with societal norms. We have built a society that stretches us, that tests us and pushes us, that we do not naturally fit into, one that keeps us striving. That is the human condition I guess, to grow, evolve, develop, master.
Everyone from the college graduate, to the senior executive, the mentor, the sheik, the pharaoh, the cobbler, all are human and each experience similar if not the same experiences. Fear, guilt, inadequacy, shame, happiness, excitement, concern, elation, all that jazz. You feel it, as do I. Liz talks of the difference between diminishers and multipliers in the context of management and the workplace. As I am sure you have deduced, diminishers do not promote the success of others over their own, mentoring and coaching them to find solutions and take responsibility, whilst Multipliers in fact, do. There is great power in the latter and it is very interesting how few of us are indeed multipliers, many are, don’t get me wrong, and most diminishers are not necessarily obnoxious and immoral people out to cause trouble. It is how they have been taught, their behaviour is informed by their experience, as well as what is accepted by the organisation. Liz, in my opinion targets the highest seniority, understanding that if the context of an organisation is developed into more of a multiplication construct this will flow from the most senior to the graduate intern. Everyone wins, an admirable pursuit. The ‘accidental diminisher’ is an interesting concept that Liz introduces which caught my ear. I originally chose to download and listen to this book as I enjoy managing my teams, I enjoy helping them get past issues through coaching and providing perspective, I really enjoy being a leader and I want to be the best one I can be, for my teams and for my business, appreciating that the former very much informs the latter!
As per the normal structure I too started in lowly positions humbled by my tentative footsteps into the big expansive world before me, full of giants who’s experience blinds me like direct sun light and further in the distance, the promised land where god like experts stride through the landscape – a place ones aspires to reach. As we stumble and learn misstep and occasionally impress, we become more familiar and familiarised with our position and how to navigate the terra firma. We gain experience and traction as our shoe size increases and titles evolve.
It is disappointing when we come across a giant, or even a god-like figure from utopia who turns out to be a diminisher, it can be so deflating. For many if they have not known otherwise it can shape their entire understanding of how the working environment does indeed work. The production line of diminishers trundles on… It is a tough cycle to break, one that the god-like individuals need to embrace and actively focus on to really turn things around, the trick is getting them to see it and do what it takes, this takes vulnerability and again within the normal structures this is often shunned as weakness. A misconception, it is in fact the opposite.
Are you a top-level leader? Even if you are not, I am sure you have influence within your organisation and can introduce such concepts. I am sure you consider yourself a multiplier, I did, I do. However, Liz’s book has identified some areas for me that I could tighten up where things may have been lacking or a little slack, areas that I could learn form and apply directly to my teams form management to interns. Opportunity knocks at my door again, I answering excitedly and welcome it in with great enthusiasm and a slight shade of fear. All the best lessons come with a bit of fear – it shows that we are pushing ourselves, that we are willing to be vulnerable admit that we can do better, and we all can believe me, and do what it takes for our teams and our organisations to be better in turn.
I must say I had no intention for this update to turn into a testimonial for Liz’s book but hey, there you have it. Give it a read and see what you can take from it, you never know it may be the key to changing your life and in turn your bottom line. Not to mention, most importantly the direct positive impact on the lives and experiences of your teams from your management team to your burgeoning interns. Why not get them all a copy and see what happens?
A pretty admirable pursuit don’t you think?