What type of leader are you?
by Peter Switzer
At a time when our country has a leadership challenge, I have been lucky enough to hear two great speakers and thinkers on leadership over the past week. The experience has opened up my eyes and will make me want to be more like detective Columbo.
Have you ever wondered why you have chaos in your workplace and in your home-life? Maybe you’re a victim of a diminisher and what you need is a multiplier.
Liz Wiseman, the author the US bestseller Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, says many leaders in business and in families fail to tap into the sum total of intelligence in a business.
Diminishers and multipliers
In a nutshell, she says leaders can be diminishers or multipliers. The diminisher is an empire builder, tyrant, lone decision-maker and micromanager. Decisions are made and he might allow debate, which infuriates and frustrates some staff, de-vibes others and it means he gets a lot less intelligent thinking out his team.
On the other hand, the multiplier is a challenger, a debate maker, a questioner and a talent magnet, and accesses all of the intelligence in his business.
By the way, some bosses can be accidental diminishers – they can be rescue-types or ideas guys – but they still stifle the potential of what lies in the grey matter of their team.
Michael Eisner, when he headed up Disney, used to have a long weekend where he called a big number of staff from managers to ticket collectors to brainstorm what was in their collective brains.
But to prove her point, Liz explained that bedtime at her house with four kids was a nightmare.
She was a screamer, a director, a whinger and a tyrant and the kids were a handful.
She then took her business technique home one night and asked questions all night – all night!
- What time is it?
- What do we do now?
- Do you need help to bathe?
- Who can turn the lights off?
You get the routine and Liz says it was a piece of cake. Her kids were smarter, better and more cooperative than she thought possible at such a challenging time of the day.
She had turned from a diminisher to a multiplier and she was a much better leader or mum.
Over the years, I have often referred to the technique of Columbo, a great US cop show on TV. The actor Peter Falk only recently passed away but his performance as the scruffy, trenchcoat detective who kept using the Socratic method of asking questions eventually found the bad guys out.
John Maxwell, who has sold over 20 million books, mainly on leadership, says great leaders are listeners and ask lots of questions. The end result is you get the best out of your people and yourself.
It’s a pity that some of our politicians in Canberra and the nincompoops in Athens didn’t ask some better questions years ago!
Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
Published on: Wednesday, July 06, 2011
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