The Continuing Tales of a Diminisher Dad

By Mark Sato, Master Multiplier Practitioner
December 14th, 2016

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I have the unique opportunity every day to work with diverse groups of smart leaders, discussing, debating and practicing Multiplier behaviors in order to amplify the intelligence of those around us. This wealth of experience should provide a practitioner the foundation to be more of a Multiplier him (or her) self, right? One would think…

My most important role is as a father. While my wife would certainly qualify for “Multiplier Mom” status, I often play the role of Diminisher Dad. Our two boys, ages 16 and 12, are quite different in personality. We are lucky; outside of teasing each other about who will inherit male pattern baldness from me, they get along well. They also really like each other’s friends – the cool older brother who asks about and shows interest in the younger kids, and the cool younger brother that can hang around older friends and not be a pest.

My Diminisher Dad tendencies are markedly different for our oldest – he’s like me in personality, including my perceived observation of his strengths and weaknesses, his native genius, likes and dislikes. I find myself often going BIG in my opinions on his sports, school and social activities. My intent is that he would learn from my mistakes, my “wisdom”, and therefore be more happy and successful as a result. As you might imagine, that doesn’t always go over well. Because we are similar, I assume I know what is best for him and his future.

Our younger son says and does things that I cannot fathom; sometimes it makes me laugh, sometimes makes me mad, but it consistently triggers that natural curiosity – “Why would he say/do that?” And, “He won’t get suspended for that, will he?” Because we are so different, with him I find myself naturally asking more questions and being more curious in our discussions.

To minimize my Diminisher tendencies, I’ve tried to force myself to ask more questions to our oldest; sometimes open-ended, sometimes close-ended, sometimes guiding. Learning from those diverse groups of smart leaders in Multiplier sessions across the country, I’ve watched how Multiplier leaders ask questions – and to whom. I’ve observed that some leaders try to ask more questions to those that are similar to them. Other smart leaders will admit to forcing themselves to ask more questions to those that hold differing opinions or viewpoints. We all have that person, department or client that we may overwhelm with our intelligence, passion and experience. Where and with whom do you need to force yourself to ask more questions?

Now especially is the time at work, home and community to be more curious about another point of view.

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Mark Sato is a Master Practitioner for The Wiseman Group where he leads Multipliers workshops and conducts keynotes for business leaders. He has more than 15 years of corporate management and leadership training at Franklin Templeton, Kaiser Permanente and Oracle Corporation. During this time he has designed and delivered dozens of management training programs and has held management roles leading teams of over 100 people.

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