“Redefine your role as being the genius maker on the team. And instead of being the person everyone goes to for answers, maybe you're the person that people go to. And they know that when they walk out of your office, they've come up with an answer.”
In this episode
Take the attention off of yourself and how much you’re getting done and really focus on what the team needs.
In episode #134, Liz dives into tactical management advice, being a multiplier versus a diminisher, and the problem with people who are too helpful.
Liz Wiseman is the CEO of The Wiseman Group, a leadership research and development firm, and the author of several bestselling books, including “Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter.” With over two decades of experience, Liz has worked with leaders at organizations such as Apple, Disney, Intel, and Nike, helping them to develop their leadership skills and drive organizational success.
Liz shares how to become a genius maker and ensure you aren’t overutilizing yourself and underutilizing your team.
Tune in to hear all about Liz’s leadership journey and the lessons learned along the way!
Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.
Being over-utilized as a leader
You get 51% of the vote
Hard versus soft opinions
Multipliers vs diminishers
Become the genius maker
How strong is your team?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 00:16
Liz, welcome to the show.
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 03:49
Well, it’s good to be here.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 03:51
Yeah, super excited to do this. I know you’ve had a pretty extensive career working and advising companies like AT&T, Disney, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Nike, I mean, that list goes on. It’s all the brand names, basically. You know, you worked at Oracle for 17 years, we were talking about how you left Oracle. And then you wrote the original New York Times best seller multipliers. And that was, you know, basically trying to make sense of a lot of the experience you had at Oracle. And then you wrote other books like the multiplier effects, Rookie Smarts, more recently impact players. And before we get into a lot of that, I have to ask you, if we were to rewind and go back to the very early days, do you remember when you first started your first leadership experience? And what were some of the mistakes that you made when you first started in that path?
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 04:44
Oh, my goodness, you’re taking me back to like the painful learning. You know, and so much of the work I do coaching executives teaching leadership, like you could probably trace back to me trying to figure this out and you know, I think I was a tear herbal leader at first, it took me six months to even understand what my job was. And I remember this so vividly. And I could probably, like the image that comes to mind is this one night, it’s like seven, eight o’clock at night. It’s dark outside, the parking lot is cleared. And I’m still at work. And I’m whinging and moaning, like having this pity party of like, okay, everyone else has gone home. And here I am still working. And I still have things on my to do list. And I’m like, my mind is racing with like, people aren’t doing their job. And I’m, like, left holding the bag on the group’s work. And I’m in this pity party of people aren’t doing their job. And I start to realize, wait a minute, maybe I’m not doing my job. Like, I think it took me about six months to figure out that, you know, once you become the manager is not about you. You know, here I was thinking like, poor me, poor me. But I’m like, wait a minute, my job as a leader is to delegate work to other people. And to keep it there. Like the fact that people keep coming to me like, hey, Liz, we have a problem with this, and kind of dumping it in my lap, and that I was accepting that work back like, Man, I’m not doing my job. And I think part of my problem as a leader was that I was hyper-productive, and hyper conscientious as a contributor, which is probably why I got put into the leadership on give it to Liz, like, she gets stuff done. And there was another moment where, like, kind of this little bit painful learning. And this was just confusing learning. My boss stopped my office, and he popped his head and he said, you don’t miss. As far as I’m concerned, you could spend your whole workday reading novels. And that would be fine. As long as your team got done what they needed to. And I’m like, What a weirdo? What like, that is the weirdest thing. Now my boss was kind of a weird guy. And I’m like, What is he talking about? And of course, I’m not gonna read novels in the office. And I don’t even really read novels, let alone at work. And during work hours, like that gives us a violation of my work ethic. I was like bristling with this. And then I’m like, wait a minute, I think he’s trying to tell me something. Like, I think what he’s saying is, Liz, it’s not about you, and your productivity. That’s not what matters. What matters is how much your team can get done. And it was like, those two experiences combined, that I realized, I was over utilized. And people around me were underutilized. And like, oh, yeah, my job as a leader is the utilization and the contribution and the impact of my team, gee, maybe I should take my attention off of myself, and how much I’m getting done. And really focus on what the team needs. For me it like it took me I’m a little embarrassed that it took me that long, but it’s like a full six months before this realization head.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 08:09
So I mean, you say six months and you’re maybe embarrassed by six months. I think this is one of those things that people struggle with, like even as you were saying it even the phrases that you use, even part of me thinks you know, just the way that you said it I was over utilized and others were underutilized. That phrasing alone makes me think I still have work to do. So. It’s six months is pretty good. If you figured it out that quickly. Well, and
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 08:36
I I still struggle with this, I still get into these little fits of rage that wait a minute, oh, I’ve got so much on my shoulders. But yet other people don’t seem stress. And and I have to remind myself that it is not about me and how much I can shoulder. So it’s it’s a constant reminder process. Some people never figure this out. And you can see the leaders and I think because for me, this came with a bit of a sting, I can see executives who haven’t shifted their orientation to the other people around them, and they’re still like, and they tend to have a diminishing effect on others. I mean,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 09:17
it’s really cool to put those two things together a the feeling the story. And then when your boss came by and said you could read novels, how did you turn things around after that point? Do you remember or like for someone who’s like I sense that I’m in that situation? Liz is talking about what should they start doing?
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 09:38
Well, I think what I learned to do is to give other people real ownership of something you know, what we have a tendency to do is to parcel out work like okay, I’ll own the initiative, but you know, what, sooner can you do this? You know, Marco Can you handle this Sarah? You take this piece and then we become these in degraders and then, you know, we shouldn’t be surprised that people do kind of piecemeal thinking when they’ve been given piecemeal work. And, you know, what I think I learned to do is give people full ownership of things. And then to keep it there, let me fast forward years, there was this guy worked at Oracle with at Oracle for 10 years, he has been he was on my management team, and someone who was considering coming to work for me and my current role. And they went to bend, found my closest buddy, that I worked with and said, What’s it like to work for Liz? And she said that what Ben said was, Liz will stand back and let you fail. And I thought, That’s what fan my closest, like professional buddy, like my soulmate of the workplace, that’s what he had to say about me, that’s terrible. What a terrible thing for him to say. And then as I calmed down for a moment to think about that, I’m like, you know, I’m actually really proud of that, I’m glad he saw that, because that is exactly what I learned to do is to let people own whole pieces of work. And let them fully own the success of that. And to also let them fully own the failures, and not rescue and intervene and like save the day because nobody learns when somebody else swoops in and saves the day. And rescuing people are struggling with a difficult task is one of the hardest things not to do. But it’s one of the most powerful things we can do to really create environments where people do great work, and they’re learning and taking ownership. And I think that’s what I learned to do is just give people ownership and the accountability that comes with it.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 11:43
And this is really hard to do, because, I mean, you see it, you know, presumably you were doing some function, now you’re leading the team, so you know that something will not work. But do you hold your self back in all situations? Or how hands off? Should you actually be?
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 12:03
Well, this is a great question. I think the art form of great leadership is knowing when to let someone fail and knowing when to intervene. Because it’s naive to say, Oh, well, you should just let people take accountability. There are times when it’s too big to fail, like this is going to be career ending for someone, it’s going to be business ending, you know, it’s going to do damage to someone. And so knowing that balance, I think, is an art form you develop as a leader, I’ll give you kind of a moment, I figured this out in life. You know, so all this time working as a corporate manager, I’m also, you know, becoming a parent and building this like little brood of a family. So I’ve got four, I’m a mother, I have four children. And there was this moment on a beach, we were at Blackrock beach in Kaanapali. On Maui, you know, maybe people have been there. But it’s just like nice, gentle waves. So we plopped down our little family there, we have a seven year old, a five year old and a three year old, and my three year old is our son, Christian at this point. And this is a kid that’s absolutely drawn to danger. He’s 24 today, and he’s still like, danger. Let me go there. And we were playing in like the small waves. And he kept hurtling out in the water to like the big waves, and he was drawn to the big waves. And I kept pulling him back, and he kept going out. And it’s become this little comedy on the beach, as the other parents are laughing that I keep having to pull him back to where it’s safe. And he is not figuring this out. And I thought, You know what, this kid is not going to learn about the power of the ocean from his mother, like, he’s going to have to learn this thing from Mother Nature. And so I’m like, You know what, I’m gonna let him get taken by a wave. And so I’m looking on the horizon for like, the perfect wave. And I, you know, I’m like, ooh, that one’s too big. That’s gonna do too much damage. No, then that one, oh, that’s too small. And so I see this perfect way, which is I’m looking for a wave that will tumble him and scare him, but not sweep him off to see. And so when that wave comes, I step back. I let go of his hand. And you know, I remember this because other parents on the beach are giving me that bad mother look like whoa. And I’m just like, You know what, this one he’s kind of learned for himself and so the wave takes him and tumbles him you know, he’s like, comes up he’s spitting out sand and, and I remember looking at me like, Mom, where did you go? And that’s when I kind of got downlow looked at him eye to eye and my Christian the ocean is powerful. And these waves are dangerous. You need to stay here where you’re safe. And and then he did and you know, it’s funny because he now is a surfer and like he has this amazing skill with but also respect for the ocean. And I think it’s like what I learned from this is people have to learn on their own, but you’ve got to pick the right size wave. And I think this is the art form of good leadership is being able to pick the wave like, you know what, this is a moment where somebody can make a mistake, they can make their own call, take responsibility fail at this and they can survive, our business can survive, the client engagement will survive. But this over here like this could be very damaging very for them for the business, this is where I need to pull them back. This is where I might need to step in, maybe this is where I need to micromanage a bit. And so like knowing how big of a wave people can handle is what we have to get good at as leaders. And I think one of the ways that we can really encourage good risk taking is by letting people know the difference between the parts of the business that are sort of playgrounds versus freeways. You know, like right here, you can recover, that’s a playground, try new things experiment. Over here. This is a freeway, you make a small mistake, and it could be deadly. I’ve got to guide you on this one. I need to drive on this one.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 16:01
Yeah, that’s so very well put. And I love that story. Because now I will never forget that story. But it? Yeah, it sounds like you just need to find the right size wave. And I think that is obviously easier said than done. But it makes sense. Because if you involve yourself in every little thing, that’s how you end up staying at work, you know, when the parking lot is empty, and not understanding that you add more people to your team. But somehow, rather than having less to do you have more to do, what gifts and
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 16:32
more from you. And so it actually puts more burden on you as you add resources.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 16:36
This is definitely a good realization. I do remember in my last company, as we were starting to hire more and more people. There was a point in time where my dad asked me this question. He’s like, you know, you’re a big company now. But it seems like the more people that you add onto your company, the busier you get to what are all these people doing? And you know, what he asked that question, I started to question things. It was kind of like your parking lot moment.
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 17:03
Yeah, absolutely. I’ll share a little what I think is such a great tactical management practice on this, someone who had worked for John Chambers, the now former CEO of, of Cisco Networking router company, it said, so this came from my friend, Doug, who was hired by John, this is pretty still early days at Cisco, and chambers is hiring Doug to run customer support. And he says to Doug, when it comes to this part of the business, you know, meeting customer support, you get 51% of the vote, and 100% of the accountability, like the thinking behind this is so clear, like what chambers is saying is, you own this, I trust you, I respect you, you make the call. But what’s brilliant is, you know, he gives them 51% of the vote, which is like final decision right on something, but he doesn’t give him 100%. And what he’s saying is, you’re 51 I’m 49. And implied in that is, you know, what, we support you to make your decision, we’re going to back you but for heaven’s sakes, consult your colleagues, keep me informed. Listen to me, take my ideas into consideration. But in the end, you own it. You know, we talk a lot about delegating. And, you know, there’s this garble of words people use when they transfer a project to people, I think one of the most powerful things you can say is, okay, this piece of work, you get 51% of the vote, and 100% of the accountability. It’s really clear.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 18:31
Yeah, I love that so much. It’s definitely a model that I think I’m going to start applying as well. Because there’s also the other part of it too. And and I’ve heard, you know, sometimes like you said, people want to call the shots, they want to say like, Why do I get so many opinions, for example, like, I just want to be able to call the shots, but a framework and a model here actually makes make sense. And when you put it in that way,
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 18:58
I’ll share another one that’s similar, that I think is really clear. There’s one executive, I was interviewing for the multipliers book, he said, I like to distinguish between hard opinions and soft opinions. What often happens is that leaders, you know, they have ideas, hey, what about this, you might consider that maybe we should try this. And people end up on a wild goose chase, like, Okay, let me run after this idea, you know, and so what he’s saying is a soft opinion is, hey, here’s a thought I had, here’s something you might want to consider consider it, but feel free to dispose of it or ignore that. A hard opinion is No, I actually want you to do this. And I think when a leader can clarify the difference, it’s so clear for people to understand what to take into consideration versus what they own and they have decision rights.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 19:44
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Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 21:30
Well, the backstory is, it started from an observation I had at Oracle. So I get very, I think, Lucky. And I got hired into this small, but rapidly growing software company, I guess they were mid size, couple 1000 people when I joined, rapidly growing software company, and they hired just for kind of raw brilliance and achievement. And so there’s all these really smart driven people. And I’m like, I feel so lucky that I get to work around all these smart people. And I started to notice, like, oh, intelligence has consequences. And I could see really smart people get thrown into management and really achievement oriented people, which is probably where I got thrown into management, like, let’s get stuff done. And then I’m noticed that actually, that intelligence and drive gets weaponized by a lot of people. And I think we’ve all seen people who are really smart walk into a room and weaponize their intelligence, uh, you know how that meeting is going to end, it’s going to end with them having the answers then being right, smartest person in the room, like they’re smart, but they shut down smart. And other people, like people go quiet around these leaders, people don’t speak out, they don’t step up. And sometimes because these people have sort of a very overtly diminishing effect, but sometimes people just hold back around these kinds of people. Because, like, I don’t know, they don’t really need me. You know, she seems great. She’s got all the answers like, I don’t need to speak out, I’ll just do whatever she tells me to do. So I noticed that some people had this diminishing effect, that their intelligence was essentially a weapon. And then I noticed other leaders equally smart, and their intelligence isn’t a weapon, it’s more of a tool, you know, and we’ve probably all experienced those kinds of leaders. I call them multipliers because they’re, and they use their intelligence and capability in a way that seems to nurture intelligence and capability to other people. They’re the people that were smarter round there. When they walk in a room, people kind of sit up, they, like ideas start to flow, like light bulbs go off when, when they’re present, in a room, or on a team. And I’m like, and it was actually, after I left Oracle and I was coaching a tech exec, who had, you know, really, really bright, kind of Mensa level intelligence, a pedigree education. And he was struggling with this dynamic, like working really hard, really smart, but like his team is moving slowly, kind of stuck, disengaged, and I was actually looking for some research that I could give him to help him as we were talking through this dynamic. I’m looking for research, like, I want to see some empirical research behind this observation that I had seen. And it turned out there was no research on this. So I thought, well, I could do that. And, you know, studied leaders who had this multiplying versus diminishing effect on other people. And there are probably two important things that I found in that number one is these diminishing leaders, they get on average, less than half of people’s available intelligence. 48% is what came out of this research. And when people’s stay, you know, working around this leader, how much of your brain power were you able to use and engage and people like 20% 30% You know, 48 was the average And these multipliers are getting virtually all of it. So that was kind of one idea is that there’s a lot of smart leaders who are hiring smart people, but then grossly under utilizing that. And the second big observation was really surprising to me was that most of this diminishing that was happening in the workplace is not coming from a radical, narcissistic bully kind of boss. But most of it was coming from what I call the accidental diminisher. The good person trying to be a good leader, but probably just playing so big other people end up playing small, someone who’s too helpful, someone who’s too
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 25:41
creative, has too many ideas.
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 25:44
Yeah, but you know, the fountain of ideas is one of the accidental diminishing tendencies, I noticed. And I probably first noticed it in myself. And I like, boy, I can I can make somebody’s head spin. And I’ve learned you know, how to, like how to have an idea and not share it.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 25:59
To talk to me about that, how do you have an idea and not share it?
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 26:03
This is my little pile of post it notes where ideas go to die. So here’s my natural inclination, I have an idea. And I want to talk with someone about it. I love ideas. And of course, the intention with this kind of accidental diminishing is Oh, I’m just, I don’t think my ideas are better. I’m just going to toss out ideas and other people will play with them, or they will. It’s a brainstorming session, let me get it started. And other people will build on it. Well, what happens is that people then run around and go do those things. And then it’s very confusing to the organization or people become idea lazy around people who are idirect, like, oh, I have to wear my pretty little head, I’m just gonna walk down the hallway, the Liz’s office, because like, she’s got ideas, let me just do one of those things. So what I’ve learned is that it’s very dis focusing and confusing for people. So what I do is when I have an idea, you know, I write it down. I asked myself this question, Liz, do you want people to stop what they are working on? And work on this? If the answer is yes, like, I phone someone up by email, like, hey, but if the answer’s no, I write it down. I usually stick it on my monitor for a few days, maybe a couple of weeks. And then it’s like we’ve moved on, it’s not a revelation, I just kind of put it in this pile of things. And I set it here, just in case I don’t know, I’m never bored one day, and I want to pull out and revisit some of these ideas. But I’ve learned to essentially have a filter.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 27:24
That makes a lot of sense. And that’s a that’s a very tactical way. And for anyone who’s just listening and not doing video that was was quite a big pile. So you are definitely practicing what you preach here. So what about other people that maybe are a bit too helpful? What would you say about those folks?
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 27:46
Yeah, I think in one of the ways we see this happen a lot is the rescuer. This is the good hearted leader that wants people to be successful. And so when people are struggling, they step in, and they help. And if you’ve got rescuer tendencies, I think I’ll share what my friend and colleague Adam Grant does, you’ve probably read some of Adams books, lots of people have read his books or articles. So he really loves this idea of multipliers. And he might be the biggest fan that I know of the idea in the book. And he’s like, because I have these accidental diminisher tendencies. He says, I’m a big rescuer. And he said, what I’ve learned to do is when people come to me asking for help, I remind myself, kind of what I’ve learned is that most of the time people already have an answer in mind. And what they’re looking for is validation, appreciation. And he says, I remind myself that people want sympathy, not solutions. I’ll share a moment. This was early on in my management career where this woman Carla who worked for me, she was where she was in my office, we’re having a one on one. And she is probably talking for 15 minutes about this boot camp that we’re trying to run. So I ran Oracle University, among other things, and we have this big product release, we’ve got this big boot camp that you know, is getting all of our sales consultants, you know, ready to go out and sell support, etc. And this thing is in jeopardy because we can’t find enough server space because we have to load all these database instances on to big tech heavy requirement. And she’s like, we can’t get the server space. A datacenter won’t give it to us. And so I am literally picking up the phone. This was like back in the days where we had like phones with like curly cords on and I pick up the phone and I am dialing the data center, I probably don’t even dialing they’re probably on speed dial and I know all the leaders in the data center, they probably owe me a bunch of favors for the end. So I’m calling the data center and the phone is ringing. And Carla says to me, she said Liz, you don’t need to make that call. And she says do you can hang up and I’m like, Okay, well I had the head of the data center like about to answer so I hang up the phone and she goes off solve the problem. I just wanted you to know what I was working on. This was a rebel Listen to me, like, I’m like, wait a minute, she was giving me all of these signals like I need help. And this is really important program we were that was in jeopardy. But she’s saying what she was saying, I want your sympathy, like, I want you to know what I’m doing the the rocks I’m having to move and the boulders I’m pushing up hill, I want you to know about that, but I don’t want you to intervene. And it looked to me like a desperate cry for help, and it wasn’t. And like, oh, I need to do less, and just empathize more,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 30:30
I love that do less and empathize more, I’m gonna write that down, too. So, you know, one, if your modern workplace and I think one way that this materializes, and I’d love to get your thoughts on this, but the person who is so super busy, because they’re obviously very helpful, they have such great opinions, that people from all different departments want to reach out to them for their opinion, we should also ask that person, they might be in a different team, but like, they’re very smart, and they contribute. And so this person is busy all day, being this extra helper. So what do you tell that person?
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 31:08
Well, what I might say, I guess, if I was being a tad dramatic about it, I might say that, you know, at the top of the intelligence hierarchy, isn’t the genius. It’s the genius maker, that it’s easy to fall into this role of being the genius in an organization like the one everyone goes to, hey, what do I do? How do I, but maybe redefine your role is being the genius maker on the team. And instead of being the person everyone goes to for answers, maybe you’re the person that people go to, and they know that when they walk out of your office, they’ve come up with an answer, like the person who would help someone think it through well, like it’s even just the simple matter when someone comes and says, Hey, Brian, what do you think we should do? Well, what do you think we should do? And usually people have an answer. And it’s just like, that feeling when people walk away going, like, Wow, thank you. And you’re like, I didn’t do anything. But what you did is you allowed someone to come up with the answer themselves, and someone might take away from it. Doesn’t that take more time? Isn’t it easier to just tell people what to do? Like when we have these genius makers in our life for me, CK Prahalad the strategy professor at the University of Michigan was one of these, that, like, when I was with ck, I just my thinking was so much sharper and better. And he was instrumental in my career, my life I wrote about him and multipliers. Well, he passed in 2010. And board like the next year thought, How am I ever going to have a good thought without CK? Like, he was my genius maker. And I realized, I didn’t need to go to C K. for ideas. Like, I would just channel him like, Well, how would CK think about this? Like, if I were able to call him up right now? What would he say? What would be the questions he would ask me to help me think this through? Yeah, he wasn’t my genius. He was my genius maker. And he taught me how to think and like, as a manager, you can be that for other people. It’s a more rewarding role. I think,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 33:08
I love the way that you also put it, which is the top of the hierarchy is actually the genius maker, and not the genius. And that sets things into place. So Liz, this has been I mean, so far, like so incredible. I love this conversation, I have to also ask you about what’s going on in the world today. So obviously, you know, economic shift, a lot of companies are downsizing. And we are seeing a lot of I guess, like the just the tone in the like in the employment environment change. And so for managers who are in this environment, and they’re kind of looking at their teams, and they’re being asked from their management, or being told from the leaders of the organization that, hey, this is gonna be a headcount flat year, it’s not going to be a headcount growth here. But we still have to hit all of these goals. How should people just think about this environment? Like if you’re a manager and leader in, you know, 23 and 24? Like, what are things that you should think about?
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 34:10
I think people should be asking themselves, are you getting the most out of the team that you have? You know, it’s so easy, particularly in growth companies or in growth environments to think more work is handled by more people. But as you know, from your own experience, sometimes more people create a problem. And so it’s easy to think it’s a linear resource increase model, whereas I think good managers think about resource leverage, and not just resource use or resource allocations, like, am I getting maximum contribution of the people I have? And it’s not like, Okay, can I load more on people? But can people do more? Can they handle more of the thinking more of the ownership? And so looking at whether or not you might be having a diminishing effect on your team, now’s a really good time to do it. And it’s not I like we’re leaving this kind of get more by adding more resources. But it’s very easy to go into this mode of Okay, now we have to do more with less, which is an interesting challenge, I think for I don’t know, what, two weeks, two days, but it’s a terrible way to work. Like, how do I squeeze more? Think leaders should be asking me, How do I get more by getting more value out of the resources that I already have. And one of the things that I found studying these multiplier leaders as they get more from other people, but they create an environment where people describe it as, okay, a little bit exhausting, because like, This boss is getting all of my insights capability, like I’m using everything I’ve got here. But yet, it’s not exhausting. It’s exhilarating. And so how do we create an environment where people can contribute fully, and also experience the joy that comes from man, I’m doing my best work, and I’m getting Smarter Every Day, like I’m learning, I’m growing, this is thrilling. So I think we have to be really careful not to go into this more with less mentality. And I think we have to, this is a good time for leaders to exercise some restraint. You know, we’re, in many industries, tech particularly is moving from, you know, all of the layoffs, it’s very easy to kind of shift from a talent centric employment contract where, you know, you’re sort of lucky to be able to get people to, you know, when things contract, people feel more grateful to have a job. And that space is ripe for abuse of leadership, for people to come in and say, Hey, you’re lucky to work here. Like, I’ll tell you what to think. And I think we need to continue to create environments where people can take ownership, and environments where people are able to be respected for the talent they bring to their teams, in environments where people can have impact.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 36:54
I think that’s a very good cautionary note. And certainly, if you want to be a multiplier, getting into that latter way that you you suggested, which is to, I guess, lead by fear, that’s not going to get the best out of people. But I guess if someone is trying to self diagnose, if they’re trying to say, How do I know if I’m getting the most out of my team, but in a way that’s exhilarating in a way that gets them excited about coming to work and growing? How would they self diagnosis if they are doing a good job
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 37:26
that? Well, some people just can very quickly self diagnose? Like, wow, I think I might be one of these diminishers. But if you need some help with that, we have a little quiz. Are you an accidental diminisher that will help you see what your accidental diminisher tendencies are, meaning the way that you’re diminishing with the very best of intention. There’s like, oh, nine or 10 of really prevalent ways, this little quiz, you can find it at multipliers books.com. I think that’s where it is. But you can also ask people now if you ask people, am I a diminisher? Of course not lose, not you, you know, or even if you ask, well, am I an accidental diminisher? Oh, no, Boss, you’re great. But if you ask, if you create enough safety, people will, will stretch and answer this. It’s like, how might I with the very best of intentions be diminishing good ideas, stopping innovation, preventing people from taking ownership preventing people from having impact here, like, what am I doing with the best of intentions? That’s an easier conversation to have. Or I might encourage some people to just watch, watch the effect you have when you walk into a meeting. Do people kind of spring up? does the energy go up? Or does do people like oh, you know, we’ll let this person do all the talking, you know, okay, Aiden’s here like he’s now in charge. Versus do people continue to take charge like, Oh, hey, Boss, I’m glad you’re here. But they continue to lead that meeting and then take ownership or does stuff kind of roll to you, I can usually see that dynamic. And I can see when I’m having a diminishing effect.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 39:02
That’s a definitely a good thing to watch out for. And you know, what’s interesting these days is with all video calls, I mean, a lot of video calls being recorded. You could go back and play some of these moments I walked in, let’s see how you reacted. Could be pretty interesting. At least this has been really awesome. I mean, we started off with talking about your anecdote and how you were saying, I realized I was being over utilized and others were being underutilized. We talked about giving ownership and not allowing people to do piecemeal work. And I love that the 51% vote, but 100% accountability, so many great frameworks, and of course, it was really nice to talk about some of the topical things that are going on in the world of work today. The final question that we like to ask all the guests on the show is for all the managers and leaders constantly looking to get better at their craft. What tips tricks or final parting words of wisdom would you leave them Um, with,
Liz Wiseman (Wiseman Group) 40:00
you know, I think the measure of a good leader is the strength of their team. And I guess my question would be like, when we you could assess your own strength as a leader, like the real measure is how strong are people around you. So much of what we talked about leadership is about like the super leader, like their qualities, how charismatic they are, how effective they are. But what you really want to do is look at the strength of the team around you. And when you optimize for that, you become kind of this super manager, I would also look at how impactful are the people around you? And I did this piece of research looking at the impact players of the workplace. And it’s funny, because if you’re a manager, we have the same reaction. Every manager who reads this book about the impact players of the workplace are like, Yeah, I want impact players on my team, like how do I build a team of this, how to hire for how do I develop it? Like how do I get people who step up, take the lead, finish strong? You know, how do I get those kind of people? And the answer? I mean, there’s a bunch of tactical things people can do. But the real answer is, will be the kind of manager and the kind of coach that impact players would want to work for. Because the best contributors won’t work for weak leaders. You know, they’re only going to work for people around whom they can contribute at their fullest and their best. And I think it’s a chance for us to say do I deserve people like that on my team?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 41:27
Liz, that’s great advice, and a great place to end it.