On this episode of The Ultimate Leadership Podcast we learn from leadership expert Liz Wiseman why having the mindset of a rookie is beneficial for any professional, and how to avoid becoming a diminisher leader and disempowering your team.
On today’s podcast:
- Why we tend to be at our best when we know the least
- Diminisher vs multiplier leadership profiles
- The mechanics of servant leadership
- Becoming a diminisher leader while having the best intentions
- What is the future of leadership going to look like?
- Why fluid leadership makes sense
The mechanics of servant leadership
In time, Liz developed a deep understanding of followership. She came to understand what people need from their leaders and what happens when they receive poor leadership.
Being a new manager is a huge challenge. Liz understood that the leader’s mindset and talent affects the intelligence and the capability of their team.
Sometimes the smartest leaders have a dumbing down effect on their organization. They do all the thinking and heavy lifting for the group, and no one else around them gets to use their own intellect.
Multiplier vs diminisher leaders
In her book “Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter”, Liz highlights two types of leaders: multipliers and diminishers.
Multiplier leaders amplify the intelligence of their team. Diminisher leaders tend to drain the energy and capability from the people around them.
In terms of impact, multipliers get virtually all of their team’s capabilities, whereas diminishers get less than half of them.
Multipliers have the assumption that people are smart, that they can figure things out on their own. Diminishers tend to have the assumption that no one is going to figure things out without them, that they are the smartest person in the room.
In terms of how they manage talent, diminishers tend to be acquirers of resources, whereas
multipliers tend to be utilizers of people’s genius.
When it comes to the environment they create, diminishers create stress, while multipliers create emotional and intellectual safety. Teams working under a multiplier feel safe to take risks, to think differently, and to make mistakes.
Diminishers tend to give directions, they are know-it-alls. Multipliers are challengers, they ask big questions, they invite people into new possibilities.
Diminishers tend to be decision-makers, whereas multipliers tend to be debate-makers. Diminishers tend to micromanage, while multipliers tend to be investors who give other people ownership.
Becoming a diminisher leader without realizing it
When she started her research, Liz thought that diminisher leaders had an ego problem. She saw narcissistical, tyrannical leaders.
In time she realized that most of the diminishing that’s happening in organizations, and even in our homes, is coming from really well-intended leaders who don’t have an ego problem. They have an awareness problem.
They don’t realize that people can end up diminishing others while holding the best of intentions.
Liz saw this in church organizations. The more noble intentions are, the more likely we are to end up diminishing.
What is the future of leadership going to look like?
A new model of leadership is emerging. Millennials are helping to lead the way.
A lot of millennials come to the workplace not aspiring to be leaders. They bring a bit of disdain for leadership that is in some ways extraordinarily helpful.
Liz sees the future of leadership going towards a very fluid model. Where there is a tide, a rise and fall movement.
In the fluid model of leadership, workers can step up and down several times every day. They can be strong and lead the team when necessary. Later they can step down and become followers.
Why we tend to be at our best when we know the least
People have a generally held belief that we get better with experience. Years of practice equates to mastery, and we think that we are better at something the more we know about it.
We are now working in a world where that perhaps is no longer true. Our technology has allowed our business cycles to spin very fast. Change is coming at us so rapidly, that best practices don’t matter so much anymore.
In the current environment, it’s not what you know that matters, but how fast you can learn. How quickly you can face a new problem.
We need to find ways to stay perpetual rookies, despite having years of mastery. We need to work with the same level of hunger and curiosity that we had when we were doing something for the very first time.
As leaders, we need to lead people in the dark. We might not know where we’re going, but we have to be able to recognize it when we get there.
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