• Jackie Capers-Brown

How the Best Leaders Make their Team Smarter

The most valuable asset of the 20th Century company was its production equipment. The most valuable asset of a 21st Century institution, whether business or non-business, will be its knowledge worker and their productivity. ~Peter Drucker~

To build successful organizations, leaders have an obligation to enhance the smarts and performance of individuals at all levels, regardless of rather it is a for-profit or non-profit. If more people in your organization were fully engaged in providing excellent service and products, how much more success would your organization experience? Leaders have the power to influence a smart and peak performing culture. First, they have to recognize how their current behavior is helping to create their present workplace culture and, second, they have to be willing to modify their behavior to nurture a smart and peak performance culture.

Are People Smarter Because of You?

Generally, people don’t care much about what a leader knows until he or she has shown them that they care about them. When leaders begin to make developing the talents and leadership capacity of individuals a priority in their organization, if they are consistent, their actions will be perceived by the workgroup as an indicator of their level of care and concern for others and that their focus is not just on their professional agenda.

Workgroup members are always wondering, “what’s in it for me”, so those leaders who are able to communicate and demonstrate the benefits that individuals gain from their efforts receive greater buy-in and support for navigating change and moving an organization forward.

Your customers prefer to do business with organizations they trust and believe that the management and staff are looking out for their best interests. Your staff is no different. Yes, you are providing them with gainful employment and I’m sure most of them are grateful to have a regular paycheck during these economic times. But, what’s going to happen when the economy begins to improve? How many of your staff members will jump ship when that happens because your organization’s leaders and work culture are not providing front-line management and staff members with opportunities to grow their intelligence and enhance their performance in the workplace?

In the book Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smart, Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown identify character traits of leaders who multiply the smarts and capacity of those around them, and the traits of leaders who diminish the smarts and capacity around them. Which type of leader are you?

According to the research conducted by Wiseman and McKeown, leaders who are Multipliers consistently influence others to do more because of the following:

1. They use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capability of people around them.

2. People get smarter and better in their presence

3. When people walk into the room light bulbs starts to go off over people’s head

4. Meetings are idea generation sessions

5. People feel that they are better and more capable because of the leader

6. They aren’t just intelligent- they multiply the intelligence of those around them.

On the other hand, their research found that leaders who are Diminishers consistently suck the mental life out of employees because of the following:

1. They consider themselves to be the smartest person in the room.

2. They shut people down around them, so the voice of others in the organization is not acknowledged, respected, or valued.

3. They make all the important decisions and fail to consult with others.

4. They have an answer for everything.

5. They express strong opinions that prevent others from objecting to them.

6. Places his or her energy into selling their ideas to others and convincing them to execute the details.

Multipliers boost the collective IQ in a workgroup, whereas Diminishers have a tendency to dumb-down workgroups. When it comes to leadership: effective relationships make or break.

Leaders who cannot develop effective workplace relationships decrease the level of professional success that is possible for them to attain. Leaders who develop their emotional and social intelligence skills are much more attuned to the people that they serve, and are able to use their influence to multiply the smarts and productivity of those in an organization.

Wiseman and McKeown write, “Leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capability of the people around them…inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations. These are the Multipliers. And the world needs more of them, especially now, when leaders are expected to do more with less.”

Organizations prosper when leaders tap into multiplying the talent and productivity of their workforce. Leaders who multiply talent help to reinvent the performance of organizations and help to create a pipeline of talent available to seize opportunities as the organization grows. Multipliers create win-win synergy for organizations and the individuals working in them. As a leader, you have it within your power to choose to be a Multiplier or Diminisher.

The legacy of your leadership will create a body of work that tells the story of which type of leader you decided to become.

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