Some leaders have such an intense need to be the smartest in the room that they keep the people around them from being their best while others bring out the best in people. Liz Wiseman called these individuals ‘multipliers’ and ‘diminishers’ in her self-help book, Multipliers. A diminisher is someone who creates an environment that stifles people’s ability to problem-solve. They do this by sharing their own insight or telling others how to do their job, thus showcasing their own knowledge instead of allowing someone else to flourish. Most managers who act this way don’t even realize they’re doing it. A multiplier builds people up and creates an environment that allows them to safely contribute. Are you unknowingly being a diminisher manager at work? Here’s how to tell.
Do You Micromanage?
Diminisher managers follow-up with their team members at every turn. They often believe they are being supportive by providing resources and offering suggestions. In reality, if you act this way, you end up making your team members feel like you don’t trust them. To be a successful leader, you need to give your employees as much autonomy as you can. If they don’t feel like they have your trust and respect, they aren’t going to challenge themselves, and they won’t live up to their potential.
Do You Talk More Than You Listen?
Diminishers do all the talking. They rarely take the time to listen. This is especially true when it comes to problem solving. When a team member has a problem, do you immediately try to offer up a bunch of solutions? Instead, ask “Where do you want to take it?” Give them a chance to come up with solutions on their own. If you just give them solutions, they miss the opportunity to hone their creativity. You’re ultimately diminishing their growth because they don’t have a chance to learn and become better.
Do You Let Others Feel Successful?
If you tell them how to do their job or offer up too many solutions, you don’t give your team members the opportunity to feel successful. Your employees want to take on challenges and overcome them because it makes them feel good about themselves. Many times, managers think they’re helping by leaving little room for failure. They don’t want their employers to feel bad about themselves, but failure is healthy. You can’t experience successes without failure. You have to give your team members the room to succeed and to fail. Coming back from failure is a great thing. Or they may succeed beyond your wildest dreams!
Most managers want their team members to be happy and successful. So, when their behavior has the opposite effect, it’s usually an accident. They think they’re being encouraging, but they end up making their team feel discouraged. To be the best manager you can, you must reevaluate your approach to leadership and make sure you are creating a work environment where your employees can thrive.
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