mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Manager Reads - Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

After a short hiatus of Manager Reads posts caused by catching up on posts for previous entries and a newborn, the first entry of 2020 is here! This post covers Multipliers, Revised and Updated: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman.

Who recommended the book? This book was selected as our next book to cover at Twitch’s Leadership Book Club. The club focuses on books that can level up everyone’s - not just managers - leadership and management skills. At the end of each meeting of the club, we vote on the next book to read.

Judge the book by its cover, font, page quality? Multipliers has a simple, straightforward cover: the obligatory New York Times bestseller flaunt, title, an image that captures the essence of the book (a lightbulb), and the author name.

I’m not a fan of the lightbulb for multiple reasons. First, the faces of the people on the lightbulb are so oddly edited some of the people look like tomatoes; it looks a lot like what happens when I try (and fail) to Photoshop images. Second, I don’t think the lightbulb a great representation of Multipliers. Diving deeper here, it’s worth noting the difference between the original version of Multipliers and the revised and updated one. The updated version has two extra chapters: The Accidental Diminisher and Dealing with Diminishers. The Dealing with Diminisher chapter opens with a Stanley Kubrick quote on light: “However vast the darkness, we must supply own our light” and has a section named Supply Your Own Light. This still doesn’t sell me on the lightbulb but given the covers between the original and updated books are the same, one must ask: Were these references added deliberately to make the lightbulb more relevant?

The inside of the book - page quality, font, point size - stick to the safe standards so no complaints there.

Thoughts on the book and the big take-aways? Multipliers opens with discussing the Five Disciplines of Multipliers that gets them to draw out twice as much from people compared to Diminishers:

  1. Be a Talent Magnet, not an Empire Builder
  2. Be a Liberator, not a Tyrant
  3. Be a Challenger, not a Know-It-All
  4. Be a Debate Maker, not a Decision Maker
  5. Be an Investor, not a Micromanager

From here Multipliers covers how much of the diminishing going in the workplace is done accidentally by the Accidental Diminisher and covers several behaviors managers can exhibit with good intentions but ultimately have a diminishing impact on their team. Until this chapter I thought Multipliers was an okay book, but this chapter was excellent and gave me pause several times as I read about things I sometimes do thinking I’m helping my team when the impact it anything but.

Continuing Multipliers covers how to deal with Diminishers focusing on when that Diminisher is your boss. And it closes with actionable things you can start doing to become a Multiplier yourself and seed a Multiplier culture in your workplace, both of which I really enjoyed.

Overall, Multipliers is a decent book but truly shines in its later chapters where it focuses on accidental diminisher behaviors and specific things you can do to accelerate yourself towards being a Multiplier.

Favorite quote from the book? “A leader is someone who helps others lead.”

Elevator pitch for suggesting (or not suggesting) the book? If only to read The Accidental Diminisher chapter, pick up this book! If that chapter piques your interest this book has great summaries at the end of each chapter that can help you decide whether to dive into other chapters or to pass on them.

Notes in Evernote? Looking for an overview of how to become a Multiplier? Check out my notes on 🐘.

Most of the world’s wisdom is written down in its best books. Manager Reads is a series covering books on management and leadership, focusing on books that can improve your own leadership with the wisdom of others. Enjoyed this post and want to see more? Check out more at Manager Reads.