Are You a Multiplier or a Diminisher? | #hcsummit

Author: Krystin Fakalata | Source: HCI | Published: April 9, 2013

The second day of the 8th annual HCI Summit is off to a fantastic start. We were treated to a keynote from Colleen McCreary, Chief People Officer at Zynga. McCreary shared the highs and lows of a young, energetic company and their talent challenges. For Zynga to keep their smart talent, they had to have leaders keep their focus on talent from the very beginning – the CEO challenged McCreary to ensure leaders spent 20% of their time on talent building. No matter the threats and changes, McCreary was always able to go back to that vision.
Next up after McCreary, Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers, gave an energetic presentation of her findings that stemmed from the question, why do some leaders get more from their people and others don’t? Turns out that multiplier leaders don’t just get more from their people, they get two times more intelligence from their people for FREE. How?
One of the first points Wiseman made was about using all the talent that is already sitting in your organization. Know the strengths of your employees and continue to believe in the skills and intelligence that made you hire them in the first place. Another big point that Wiseman demonstrated was the difference between pressure and stress. Multipliers might create an environment full of pressure, but little stress. The biggest difference between the two is control. Wiseman had two volunteers reenact the William Tell story – where a mom had to shoot an apple off the top of her son’s head. The mom feels pressure (to perform) the son feels stressed (hoping that his mom has the skills necessary to make the shot). Multipliers create environments where employees feel pressure to perform at their best, but aren’t stressed because they actually are empowered to make things happen.
It’s important to look at the qualities of both diminishers and multipliers to see where your leadership falls on the spectrum. When the audience at the Summit was asked to think of diminishers in their lives these qualities came up:

  • Diminishers think you don’t need to know the big picture
  • They think they are the smartest person in the room
  • They don’t value anyone else’s opinion
  • They suck the energy from the room

On the other hand, Multipliers, from our attendees’ experience:

  • Challenged and encouraged employees
  • Asked employees’ opinions
  • Believed others could
  • Made people stretch
  • Said, “You can do this”
  • Thought employees were smart when they were hired, and still are
  • They push their people past what they think they could do

In the end, If your organization is led by a diminisher you’re getting less than half of the return on all the time, energy that you put into hiring and recruiting each person. If you have a multiplier at the helm, you’re getting twice the productivity and intelligence from your people, for FREE.