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Be honest now, are you a Multiplier or a Diminisher in the workplace?

Be honest now, are you a Multiplier or a Diminisher in the workplace?

Recognising your key traits could make a real difference to the way your organisation works.

We all have our “Multiplier” days, where our presence seems to electrify the room, sparking inspiration and creating energy so tangible that a team achieves remarkable feats.

Do you have diminishing tendencies, or are you a multiplier? According to Liz Wiseman, author of The Multiplier Effect, multipliers are like conductors of an orchestra.

They coax unique melodies from each musician, creating a symphony greater than the sum of its parts. In the context of an organisation, they amplify its collective genius.

“Diminishers”, on the other hand, are so engrossed in their brilliance that they overshadow the contributions of others.

“It’s not how much you know that matters,” writes Wiseman. “What matters is how much access you have to what others know.”’

Accidental diminishers are well-intentioned people who unknowingly suppress the capabilities of others. None of us wakes up with the intention of making other people’s lives miserable. Yet sometimes, we end up doing just that.

It can be as subtle as people feeling they are not given the chance to contribute meaningfully to something larger than themselves.

There is a stark difference between accessing less than 50 per cent of an individual’s potential, and unlocking 100 per cent.

We all have our “Multiplier” days, where our presence seems to electrify the room, sparking inspiration and creating energy so tangible that a team achieves remarkable feats.

We also have our “Diminisher” days. Those days where, despite our best intentions, we act like ESKOM and switch off the lights in others.

We can only truly be judged by our actions, and sometimes our actions don’t align with our intentions, causing unintended harm. Let’s look at a few examples of Diminishers and Multipliers:

The Optimist

The Optimist tackles every problem with unwavering positivity and a can-do spirit. Nothing is too hard, and no goal is unattainable.

Optimists tend to see the world through rose-coloured glasses. While they believe they inspire, radiate faith, and underline others’ capabilities, they can come across as lacking empathy for people’s struggles.

They may appear oblivious to the effort required to meet a deadline, brainstorm an idea, or solve a problem. This could make others feel unvalued, as it emphasises only the end result.

Acknowledging the challenge of the task at hand and appreciating each other’s efforts can unleash the Multiplier in you.

Recognising the struggle doesn’t diminish the optimism. Rather, it makes it more relatable, real, and ultimately more inspiring.

The Rapid Responder

A Rapid Responder is like a sprinter at the starting blocks, ready to spring into action. These people pride themselves on their nimbleness, high-speed decision-making abilities, and knack for nipping problems in the bud.

Have you ever come back from a coffee break to find an email conversation has already been settled? This is typically the handiwork of a Rapid Responder.

While they may view this as an effective way to solve problems, it can restrict others from sharing their thoughts, contributing suggestions, or seeking further explanation.

How can a Rapid Responder shift from a Diminisher tendency to a Multiplier moment? By pausing, and giving others a chance to respond to matters.

Taking time, asking questions, and creating space for others to share their perspectives can empower people and enhance their capabilities.

The Rescuer

Have you ever encountered someone who rushes in to save the day at the first sign of trouble? That’s a Rescuer.

These well-intentioned individuals intervene to prevent others from failing or struggling because they simply want to help. They are always “in the trenches”.

But when you intervene too soon or too often, you might stunt others’ growth. People need the chance to figure things out themselves, without stifling their creativity and critical thinking skills.

How can rescuers evolve into multipliers? By resisting the urge to play the hero.

When someone brings up a problem or challenge, take a step back, listen, ask questions, and let them find their own solution.

By nurturing their growth, you’re helping them become independent, confident problem-solvers.

The Idea Fountain

This is someone who has a constant stream of bright ideas and loves to share them with others. But behind the scenes, it can be overwhelming to have too many ideas and not know where to start.

How can you turn ideas into action? Ask yourself, “Is this something I want someone else to start working on right now?”

If the answer is no, it might be best to hold onto it for later.

The Always-On Person

The Always-on person is enthusiastic, energetic, and influential. They have larger-than-life personalities, are constantly engaged, and always have something to say or share.

They always have something to contribute. They dominate the conversation. They think their energy sparks creativity, but too much can be exhausting.

It’s like being in a room with the radio always on, so loud that you can’t hear yourself think. The result is that people around them start shutting down or tuning out.

When you’re always on, you run the risk of inadvertently dampening people’s creativity, confidence, and engagement.

To turn this tendency into a Multiplier effect, you need self-awareness and emotional intelligence. While the energy and enthusiasm of an Always-On Person can be positive, it’s important to take breaks and reflect.

Share your idea and make your point. Give space for feedback, different viewpoints, and suggestions for improvement.

By speaking less and choosing your moments, you allow others to feel heard, creating an environment where all voices are valued. When you contribute, your words will carry more weight and have greater impact.

What can we do to nurture and amplify our Multiplier traits? Primarily, cultivate self-awareness.

We often overlook our diminishing tendencies, but a moment of reflection might reveal the times when we didn’t create an environment for others to flourish.

Strive to increase your Multiplier moments, day by day, week by week, and month by month.

Gill Cross and Dr Roze Phillips

Change expert, Gill Cross and Dr Roze Phillips, believes that the big change equals big opportunity.

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