I’m going to recommend that you read the new book, “Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter,” by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown. In my more detailed review of the book I point out some of its flaws, but despite its shortcomings it is well worth your time to read. If you aspire to be a leader – and you should – then you need to learn how to develop the skills described in the book.
Multipliers believe that there are smart people all around them; consequently, their role as a leader is to give people the opportunity to figure things out on their own and become smarter in the process. The multiplier sees her job as helping others learn what they need to know to address opportunities or solve problems that matter to them. Multipliers help the group or community create great collective value.
Diminishers believe that they are the only smart person in the room, or at least the smartest one, so their role is to tell others what they know. These folks limit capability and suck the value out of every group or community they come in contact with.
The authors suggest that “Leaders rooted in the logic of multiplication believe: 1) most people are underutilized; 2) All capability can be leveraged with the right kind of leadership; 3) Therefore, intelligence and capability can be multiplied without requiring a bigger investment” (p. 17).
My advice to you is to apply that logic to yourself first. Assume that you are underutilized, that you have capabilities that are yet to be leveraged if you would do some things differently, and that you can multiply your intelligence and influence without a bigger investment. Don’t sit around waiting and wishing for a multiplier leader to come into your life to make things better for you. Give yourself permission to do this for yourself. Assume full responsibility and hold yourself accountable for multiplying your talents and helping others do the same.
One way to do this is by starting a blog. Don’t use your blog to tell people what you know. Use your blog to help others learn what they need to know to solve the problems that matter to them. Introduce issues, tell folks your take on the matter, and then invite them to share their perspective. Build a community of people with a shared interest that feel welcome contributing comments to your blog and interacting with you and others. Engage others and multiply what you and they know.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking personal branding is about showing how much you know and how valuable you think you are. That is a diminishing attitude and approach. Personal branding is about demonstrating how you can help others leverage what they know and collectively develop new strategies to address changing and increasingly complex issues shared by a group, organization, or community. Your value will multiply to the extent you help others multiply their value.
Develop the skills and earn the reputation of being a multiplier. It’s very good for your personal brand.
Bret Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and personal branding to both undergraduate and MBA students. He has a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University. Bret practices personal branding at his website Positive Organizational Behavior where he blogs about leadership, followership, and personal branding. His purpose is “to change your mind about the value of partnering with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive.” You can also find Bret on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.