Practical insights for leaders

What Type of Leader Are You? A Multiplier or a Diminisher?

Leadership is a verb (not a position) – it is a doing word. Every action a leader takes has the potential to inspire and motivate or conversely disenfranchise and demotivate their direct reports. Of course, no one wakes up and plans to negatively affect others, but there is often a gap between a person’s intention and their impact. It is your responsibility as a leader to understand how others receive you and strive to close any gap.


LISTEN:  Marshall Goldsmith | Essentials of Leadership | The Knowledge Project (97mins)

Marshall Goldsmith has coached many of the world’s top CEO’s over the last 40yrs. In this wide-ranging interview, he shares his views on the essentials of leadership. Insights that resonated with me include “the problem with proving how smart or right we are all the time”, the downside of “adding too much value”, and the “three words that kill any conversation” (spoiler alert, they are ‘no’, ‘but’, or ‘however’).



The infographic below, from Liz Wiseman, highlights six types of accidental ‘diminishers’.  This is when a well-intentioned leader subtly, and completely unaware, shuts down the intelligence of others.

Studies show that diminisher leaders on average get 48% of people’s intelligence and capability versus ‘multiplier’ leaders who can get up to 2x that capability.  See this link for simple workarounds to counter diminisher tendencies.

Learning Questions:

  • Pay attention to how you behave and how your colleagues react to you. What does this tell you about your diminisher behaviours?
  • What simple workarounds will you experiment with in the next few weeks?


Getting an understanding of how others receive you is one of the highest-return leadership investments you can undertake.