Byron's Babbles

Being A Multiplier

imagesLesson #7 in 52 Leadership Lessons: Timeless Stories For The Modern Leader by John Parker Stewart was titled “Chains and Ribbons.” It was the story about how circuses used to restrain elephants by putting a chain on their leg attached to a stake at a very young age when the chain and stake would actually restrain them. An adult elephant could easily pull up the stake, but he has been conditioned that he can’t. In other words he had been conditioned to the restraint. This can happen to those we lead too. If we chain our people down, they get used to the restraint and then their innovation, creativity, collaboration, and self-motivation go away.

Employees who don’t self-start, make decisions on their own, give input, get feedback, and grow as people with purpose, eventually suffocate under micro-management and lose the will to contribute meaningfully. Top-down bosses are notorious for killing intrinsic motivation. Then, good employees are turned into order takers. These same employees then tend not to exercise one of the better traits that we want in those we lead – being a self-starter. Great leaders are present and in the moment. They don’t need to talk over others to get their point across.img_2083

Great leaders care less about flaunting their own IQs and more about fostering a culture of intelligence in their organizations. Under this type of empowering leadership these leaders become “multipliers.” Employees don’t just feel smarter, they become smarter. I believe in shifting the responsibility for thinking from myself to those I lead. As a multiplier I work at taking the time to understand the capabilities of each individual I lead so that I can connect employees with the right people, the right opportunities, and hyper personalize their personal growth. This enables an organization to build a virtuous cycle of attraction, growth, and opportunity.

Are you restraining those you lead? How can you empower your people to collaborate in a culture of excellence that encourages dissent, growth, innovation, and creativity? Go out and be a multiplier by explicitly giving people permission to think, speak, and act with reason.

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