Double Your Workforce for Free

Multipliers get more. Multipliers extract all the capability from people. In our research interviews (for Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter), people told us that leaders who operate as Multipliers got a lot more out of them than Diminishers. We asked each person to identify the percentage of their real capability that each type of leader received from them. Some people seemed reluctant to answer at first. We made it clear that we weren’t asking how hard they worked. We wanted to know what percentage of their true brainpower, their ideas, their talent, and their energy these leaders were able to access.

For Diminishers, the numbers ranged between 20-50%. I recall seeing people’s frustration, and even embarrassment, as they told us how little they were allowed to give to their work. This was a sharp contrast to the ebullient pride people displayed when they told us how much they were able to give to the Multipliers ,where the numbers typically fell between 70-100%. When we compared the two sets of data, we were amazed to find that Multipliers got 1.97 times more than the Diminishers. That represents an almost two fold increase or a 2X effect!

Why is this? When people work for Multipliers, they hold nothing back. They offer their very best thinking, creativity and ideas. They give more than their jobs require and volunteer their discretionary effort, energy and they hold themselves to the highest possible standards. They give 100% of their ability, and then some as they stretch and grow their capability further. In essence, Multipliers have figured out how to get so much from their people that they effectively double their workforce for free.

Diminishers are costly. Meanwhile, in the office around the corner, Diminisher managers are racking up a sizable bill for their companies. Because they only get about 50% of the capability of their people on average, they need twice the resource pool just to get the same job done as their Multiplier counterparts. It is as if half of their workforce doesn’t show up to work each day. The bodies may be occupying the cubicles, but only about half of the brainpower is there. While, many Diminishers look successful on the surface, they come at an extraordinary high cost to their companies.

How much are you getting from your team? What would your staff members say if I asked the same question to them…about you? Would they say that you are getting 100% — everything that they had to give? Or, would they say that they have ideas and capabilities that are underutilized, or perhaps even unwelcomed. If you are like most managers, you are probably not getting 100% of the brainpower of your team. And, at a time when organizations have scaled back, you are expected to do more with fewer resources. Instead of trying to do more with less, try getting more by using more. Multiplier leadership is a key that unlocks the intelligence that is trapped inside organizations.

What could you get done if you could double the brainpower of your workforce? What problems could you solve? What opportunities would you successfully tackle? Just imagine what you could accomplish if you could harness all the energy and intelligence around you.

This week’s Multiplier practice: Begin by asking your staff members one simple question: How can I make better use of your capabilities? Then listen.

This week’s inquiry: In your experience, why do Multipliers get so much more from their people?

Tell us what you think!

Liz Wiseman

One Comment

Chris Wiseman

Before you double the brainpower of your workforce, you have to HAVE a workforce. How would you advise the leadership of a startup on being a Multiplier and in building a leadership team and workforce who will embrace the multiplier concept?

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