These are some notes and thoughts from a workshop I attended a few days ago at work. The workshop was loosely based on the ideas from Liz Wiseman’s book on multipliers.

Who is a multiplier?

Multipliers make people around them smarter. My intelligence and potential go up when I report to or am around multipliers.

Who is a diminisher?

A diminisher is the polar opposite of a multiplier. People who are otherwise exceptional perform poorly under diminishers.

The following is a list of characteristics displayed by multipliers and diminishers.


  • People won’t figure it out without me. I create rules and policies that require people to come to me for all major and minor decisions.
  • I am an empire builder. The bigger my organization, the better. I hoard talent and then underutilize talent.
  • I am a tyrant. I create stress and stop my team from thinking creatively.
  • I have all the answers, I am a know-it-all.
  • I am the decision maker. I decide and then debate.


  • People are smart and will figure it out. If I am out on vacation for a couple of weeks, and no one notices, I am successful. How often do you get pinged for decisions and clarifications when you are out on vacation?
  • I am a talent magnet. I attract the best and then optimize talent. If a great engineer is not the right fit, I encourage them to find another role even if it means losing them in the short term. How many people follow you when you switch jobs?
  • I am a liberator. I create space for my team to think creatively. How often do you people in your team come up with innovative ideas that are not on the product roadmap?
  • I challenge the team to find answers and create stretch goals. How often did you know the answer to a challenging problem and resisted the temptation to shout out the answer? And instead encouraged someone else to come up with the answer?
  • I encourage fruitful team debates. I debate and then make decisions. How often did you enter a team meeting with pre-conceived notions or decisions already made in your head? Did you give yourself the chance to get convinced of a counterpoint of view?

Thoughts on the above

  • Effective delegation and using the collective smarts in the team is key to success.
  • In order to be a magnetic leader, a relationship of trust needs to be established. People need to know that I am watching out for them and have their best interest in mind.
  • Do not be the “Always On” manager that does not give his/her team any space to think.
  • Do not be the “Idea Guy/Gal” in the team. Let the team figure it out.
  • Give the team a voice. This does not mean that all decisions have to be consensual. But hear people out and then decide.

There are very few people who are absolute multipliers or absolute diminishers. Exhibiting multiplier characteristics most of the time, and accidentally diminishing people once in a while is usually not a deal breaker. But being aware of these diminisher qualities and actively working on fixing them is critical. On the other hand, exhibiting diminisher traits most of the time, and accidentally multiplying people once in a while is a huge problem. This hurts the team in unforeseen ways. Be a multiplier. Reward, teach and encourage multiplier behaviors in your team.