Yo! Leaders! Are you a Multiplier? or, a Diminisher?
Food for Thought
(a.k.a. A challenge for YOU!)
Chapter 1: Setting the stage (a.k.a. The background and context)
Have I captured your attention?
My first time using Yo to that purpose.
I guess I am a little over-excited today. 🙂
I am excited because I am actively preparing for the launch on March 1st
of MY first group coaching offering.
In this case, I am collaborating with one of MY coaching colleagues, Shawna Corden.
We have chosen a topic near and dear to each of our hearts, Leadership.
More specifically, Authentic Leadership.
We are calling the experience a boot camp.
Although the term boot camp may conjure up scenes from a navy seal movie,
and the pain and suffering of that approach to building one’s capabilities.
Our aim is to deliver something a lot less painful.
Something that allows you to not only learn by doing but also to have fun doing it.
The approach, or what I like to call, a Learning and Growth experience (L&G)
is to “run” our inclusive group of 8 participants through a step-by-step process in order to
reveal their OWN leadership traits, strengths, values, and how that plays into their toolkit
as an Authentic Leader”.
BTW. The participants don’t have to run if they don’t want to.
They can walk and take breaks during the journey as well. 🙂
They are actually encouraged to do so and to reflect so that the learnings have a chance to sink in.
What I love about coaching is that although the focus is 100% on the coachees/participants
and their L&G, somehow a whole lot of it rubs off on us coaches.
And for me L&G is like TLC (Tender Loving Care).
I like to both give and receive L&G (in my case by doing it and telling stories about the experience :)).
BTW. L&G is currently my #2 value out of my list of 502 values.
Family is my #1 value in case you are curious.
So, you can imagine how excited I am as I start preparing for the sessions.
My hypothesis is that the participants are not the only one’s who are going
to gain a better understanding of their Authentic Leadership selves. 🙂
So, why am I telling and sharing all of this with YOU all?
My thinking here is that YOU might be interested in gaining some more insights into
YOUR Authentic Leadership Style as well,
in case YOU are not able to join us for this cohort.
I am hoping that there will be others given the importance of the topic and mandate. 🙂
To that end,
I am going to dedicate my short stories and blogs for the month of February 2017
to this topic, leadership,
As I work with Shawna to prepare some of the material for the upcoming boot camp,
(FYI by materials, as Coaches, I mean questions for our participants to ponder
and challenges to explore and not lectures and PPT slide decks)
I thought that I might share some of the concepts with YOU! as I work through them myself.
And, of course, a challenge or 2. 🙂
So here is the first question for you to ponder.
You will want to put on your leadership hat on to answer this one.
Are you a Multiplier? (i.e. do you make everyone around you smarter)
Are You a Diminisher?
Maybe you are somewhere in between the two extremes?
Enquiring minds want to know!
They want to know because according to the authors of the book
“Multipliers. How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter”,
(Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown)
Multipliers are able to “get twice as much from their resources as do the Diminishers”.
They refer to this as the “Multiplier Effect”.
Or in equation form for you accountants and left brain thinkers, 2X.
In this day and age, where people are so important to the development and execution of
Organizational strategies and goals WHO would not welcome more Multipliers?
In this day and age where employee engagement, and I suspect, management and leadership engagement is oh so low in the vast majority of organizations,
WHO would not welcome more Multipliers?
(and I count the shareholders and owners among the WHO).
Just think of an organization that can develop a “Multiplier” culture.
How powerful a strategy would that be?
As they say, culture eats strategy for breakfast.
So why not feed the strategy with a culture of encouraging people to move forward
And Multiply, themselves and others. 🙂
Chapter 2: Exploring the topic (a.k.a. researching and connecting)
As you can probably surmise by me choosing the concept of the “Multiplier”
as one of the first questions to explore on the quest for Authentic Leadership,
I am fascinated by the concept and the book and I am only on page 73. 🙂
I am not sure if there is some form of self-assessment that one can take?
I will follow up on that one, but in the interim, there is a summary table on page 23
of the book. It explains the 5 disciplines of the Multipliers in more detail.
I outline them briefly later on in this story (a.k.a. blog).
It is interesting, and I believe, important, to note,
as the authors point out on page 29,
that “there is a continuum between Multipliers and Diminishers,
with just a small number of people at either polar extreme”.
You might want to keep that in mind as YOU consider where YOU fit in the continuum.
Oh and by the way, the authors also share a tip with their readers on the same page.
It goes as follows,
“the best way to approach this book is to look beyond the idea that you or your colleagues are Multipliers, and instead spot yourself at times in the anatomy of a diminisher.
So, that is exactly what I am going to do in answering that question for ME.
Chapter 3: My takeaway(s) (a.k.a. What I have I learned? How have I grown?)
For those of you who are new to my approach to blogging (or as I call it, MY storytelling approach)
I like to share my take on things
My thoughts, my feelings, my experiences and lessons learned etc..
I sometimes use a top 5 or top 10 list.
In this case I am going to use examples of situations that I have been in.
One story for each of the disciplines.
5 stories of how I have acted as a Diminisher in the past.
So much for the playing to one’s strengths that I have been advocating so much lately.
Discipline 1: The Empire Builder vs. The Talent Magnet
The Empire builder “Hoards resources and underutilizes talent”
The Talent Magnet “Attracts talented people and uses them at their highest point of contribution”
Shame on me on this one.
According to some research by Deloitte in “Passion at Work”, I am supposedly
one of only 12.3% of people in the workplace who is an explorer.
Two of the attributes of an explorer as mentioned in the study are the desire to
“Quest” and “Connect” with others in exploring opportunities to share and learn new things.
They will do whatever it takes to feed this “passion of the Explorer”,
including transcending organizational boundaries and the scope of their role.
That does not sound like much of an Empire Builder to me.
So, if I value inclusion so much and learning and sharing with others,
and have such an aversion to hierarchy and boundaries and silos and
all the other nasty synonyms for empires,
then executing as a talent magnet in this discipline should be a no-brainer.
However, if I am completely honest with myself, although I often mean well,
I don’t always make the time to really understand the strengths and likes (a.k.a. preferences or personalities) of those around me.
So, a little more focus, and time spent, on this front, I believe,
can have a pretty significant impact in making me more of a magnet for others.
Discipline 2: The Tyrant vs. The Liberator
The Tyrant “Creates a tense environment that suppresses people’s thinking and capability”
The Liberator “Creates an intense environment that requires people’s best thinking and work”
When I look back at some of my previous roles from where I used to work.
I remember myself as being someone who was a bit all over the place
with a whole bunch of ideas and things to share.
Although I fully intended to execute on them all,
My strength in “ideation” at times got the best of my strength in execution. 🙂
But when it came down to the wire, for some reason,
I always found a way to deliver.
To put all my crazy thoughts aside and do what needed to get done, done.
Which is great, except that, on occasion I did so by putting my tyrant hat on.
“My way or the highway!” was my motto and I made for a pretty big bulldozer on that highway.
Remember, I used to weigh 264 pounds at one point and I can speak “really loud” if I want to.
I could make a pretty good battering ram if and when needed.
In hindsight, I believe that spending more time at the beginning,
and then throughout the initiative communicating more with those involved
in the deliverable, would have been a more effective and efficient approach.
More of Me communicating the goals and requirements.
and less of ME just telling then how to do it, which often turns out to be
MY way of doing things and not necessarily the best way of doing things.
One hypothesis I have to becoming less of a tyrant moving forward,
One that I am going to test out, is to focus on fewer things.
That will be easier said than done.
Especially, if I want to continue to play to my “Ideator” and “Futurist” strengths.
Hopefully fewer priorities and fires will provide me the time to spend more time
Working with my partners and collaborators in a more Liberating way.
More Liberating for Both ME and more importantly THEM.
Otherwise, why would THEY want to keep partnering and collaborating with ME?
Discipline 3: The Know-it-all vs The Challenger
The know-it-all “Gives directives that showcase how much they know”
The challenger “Defines an opportunity that causes people to stretch”
How does that saying go?
We have 2 ears and 1 mouth.
Not to mention 2 eyes.
I like to tell stories.
Written, but also verbally.
I like to share my thoughts.
One of my former program leaders nicknamed me “Dave Walker Talker”.
He said I reminded him of one of those dolls that you pull the chord and it just starts yapping.
In hindsight, I think that he was trying to tell me something 🙁
I am not sure that I heard it at the time.
Or maybe, I heard it but it did not sink in.
Well it is sinking in now.
I think that one of the reasons that I am enjoying my coaching services offering so much is that
it complements my love of story telling.
I benefit from hearing the stories of others.
And they benefit as well if I keep my yap shut and listen to them and what they are up to.
Easier said than done.
Telling people what do (i.e. advising them) is what I used to do for a living.
It has taken me some time to detox.
Challenge vs. Tell. Challenge vs. Tell.
O.k. I get it.
After all, as they teach us (and serve us lots of cool aid) in coaching,
Everyone is unique and has their own unique ways in which they can contribute.
Somewhere down there dwells a unique, authentic person.
Hard to see some times with all the crazyness going on around us.
Encourage them to step up to the plate and you will be amazed at all the home runs
That YOU and the team will be hitting.
Note to self
The next time you have the urge to speak
read the little sticky note taped to your desk.
The one that says;
“Shoosh!! Why Am I Talking?”
Discipline 4: The Decision Maker vs. the Debate Maker
The Decision Maker “Makes centralized abrupt decisions that confuse the organization”
The Debate Maker “drives sound decisions through rigorous debate”
My way or the highway!
Does not sound like a great approach in fostering a debate.
A debate on;
What would be the best way forward?
The best way to achieve one’s objectives?
The best way to maintain one’s objectives?
Sounds like a great way to come up with the bad way forward.
The Ugliest way forward.
And I am,
according, to the MBTI 16 personalities test,
“The Debater” (i.e. ENTP.A).
Let’s see now.
Which hat do I want (and not need or have) to wear?
What role do I want (and not need or have) to play?
My way or the highway!
Not a whole lot of exploring of pros and cons going on under
the “My way or the Highway” approach
Not a whole lot of exploring of risks and rewards going on under
the “My way or the Highway” approach
There is also not a whole lot of exploring of options and what if’s,
if I put on my debating hat and then surround myself with a bunch of folks who
are either not up to a debate, or worse, are too intimidated by me to debate.
Or, are not comfortable for some other reason to share their ideas and concerns.
Not much of a debate going on under those conditions.
Note to self.
It is not enough to just put on your debater hat.
Once you have it on,
YOU might WANT to walk the talk,
Encourage the generation of ideas and really explore them.
Think that YOU can do that Dave Walker Talker? 🙂
Discipline 5: The Micro Manager vs. The Investor
The Micro Manager “Drives results through their personal involvement”
The Investor “Gives other people the ownership for results and invests in their success”.
No problem with me coming up with story on this one.
Nasty stories and Horror stories.
I have lots to choose from.
Hoping to be telling fewer of them as I move forward though.
My name is Dave Walker.
And I am (or hopefully was) ……. a Micro Manager.
I am probably being a bit hard on myself.
We often have a tendency to exaggerate things.
But regardless, I worked in a role and an organization where micro management
should be a crime punishable by something, well, something nasty.
And you know what,
that should apply everywhere.
(Note: I hate “shoulding” on people but I have made an exception here).
Do you know how many excited and talented people I have had the opportunity to work with?
So many I can barely even recall them all.
I have had the honour and privilege for working with people from
all over the country (i.e. Canada) and all over the world.
Young and old. Black and White and all the other colours of the rainbow.
ENTP’s and INTJ’s and people with many of the other 14 MBTI personalities as well.
They all had one thing in common though
In most cases,
They had an eagerness to learn and grow,
At least the ones that I was hanging around with.
What great opportunity to invest in others!
And micromanagement sounds like a great way to do,
just the opposite. 🙁
I realize that now but I still have a tendency to forget at times.
I want and will stay diligent on this front.
I am trying to develop a new habit.
And old habits sometimes die hard.
In this case, especially for someone like me.
Someone who likes to and wants to play to his “Activator” strength.
Which unfortunately sometimes leads one to become a bit impatient. 🙁
Or at least that is what Tom Rath mentions in his book on Strengthfinders.
So, bye-bye micro-manager and Hello investor.
Oh! and when I say “bye-bye micro-manager” I am not advocating no managing at all.
The investor who invests money with a money manager might want to be prudent by
properly explaining their objectives and risk tolerances,
requesting updates on the portfolio from time to time
and checking in once in a while to see what is going on.
Those are few things that, in my humble opinion, are ways to invest one’s time wisely. 🙂
Chapter 4: MY Challenge to YOU (An opportunity for YOU to learn and grow.)
Optional of course. Like everything in Life. YOUR CHOICE!
I realize that YOU are all at different stages in mastering your leadership capabilities.
And understanding your Unique, Authentic style.
So, to that end I am going to provide you with a few options of challenges to choose from.
Feel free to choose one or more among them.
Option 1: YOUr Simple Challenge
Pretty simple challenge for you.
This week or the next.
Choose one of the five disciplines.
Whatever one floats your boat.
Play to one of your strengths.
Or close a gap.
Just choose one!
And Just do it!Use it on someone.
And see what happens.
Option 2: YOUr somewhat less simpler Challenge
Learn more about YOU by,
doing the exercise that I did above.
For each of the 5 disciplines.
I used the lens of how I could improve in each.
You might want to consider an approach where
YOU play to your strengths instead.
Or, do both.
The important thing (or action) is to, Just do it!
Option 3: YOUr more Advanced Challenge
Choose someone in your organization or team and work with them in making them a better multiplier.
And then, at some point, ask them to pay it forward.
Now. Go forth and multiply 🙂
Well, that’s all folks.
If you would like to register for or are looking for more information on the March 1 Authentic Leadership boot camp please visit the “MY PROGRAMS” page on my website at
Items and articles referenced in putting together this STORY
“Mutipliers: How the best leaders make everyone smarter” by Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown
“Strength Based Leadership” by Tom Rath
“Passion in the workplace. Cultivating worker passion as a cornerstone of talent development”
by Deloitte University Press