Multipliers bring out the intelligence in others. They build collective, viral intelligence in organizations. Everyone around them gets smarter and more capable. Multipliers invoke each person’s unique intelligence and create an atmosphere of genius — innovation, productive effort, and collective intelligence.

There are also Diminishers in many organizations. These leaders are absorbed in their own intelligence, stifle others, and deplete the organization of crucial intelligence and capability.

While Diminishers underutilize people and leave capability on the table, Multipliers increase intelligence in people and in organizations. Multipliers leverage their resources. By extracting people’s full capability, Multipliers get twice the capability from people than do Diminishers.

We’ve all experienced these two types of leaders. What type of leader are you right now? Are you a genius or are you a genius maker?

You Can Be a Multiplier

You can choose to think like a Multiplier and operate like one. For Multipliers, there are four active practices that, together, catalyze and sustain this cycle of attraction:

  1. Look for talent everywhere. Multipliers cast a wide net and find talent in many settings and diverse forms, knowing that intelligence has many facets.
  2. Find people’s native genius. A native genius is something that people do, not only exceptionally well, but absolutely naturally. They do it easily (without extra effort) and freely (without condition).
  3. Utilize people at their fullest. Once a Multiplier has uncovered the native genius of others, he or she looks for opportunities that demand that capability. Some of these are obvious; others require a fresh look at the business or the organization. Once they’ve engaged the person’s true genius, they shine a spotlight on them so other people can see their genius in action.
  4. Remove the blockers. Multipliers go beyond just giving people resources. They remove the impediments, which quite often means removing the people who are blocking and impeding the growth of others.

Adapted from Executive Book Summaries, January 2011