Leaders Multiply Talent

I’ve just started reading Mulitipliers by Liz Wiseman.

I love books with a clear vision which are a combination of hard research and practical application. What Wiseman has done in this book is compare leaders who multiply talent with those who diminish talent. It’s not a general book about leadership; instead, it’s a deep dive into the clearest differences between the two types of leaders.

You can learn more about the two types here.

In short, though, research shows that there are some who are able to lead others to work more fully to their capacity than they initially thought possible. Those are the eponymous “Multipliers.” Then, there are some who lead in such a way as to squelch potential and productivity—the “Diminishers.” Wiseman’s work shows that Multipliers get more than twice the results from their teams as Diminishers, and there are five key differences that are easy to grasp.


  1. Attract and optimize talent. Multipliers find the best people and give them what they need to do their best.
  2. Create intensity that requires best thinking. Multipliers create an environment which is both comfortable and intense so people have the environment to really get after issues.
  3. Extend challenges. Multipliers generate the believe that difficult work can be done. They enthusiastically present people with difficult projects, but they won’t set the direction. Rather, they ensure a direction gets set.
  4. Debate decisions. Multipliers engage in productive conflict. They allow themselves to be questioned as a way of modeling the safety of questioning everything.
  5. Instill ownership and accountability. Multipliers inculcate high standards so consistently they become a constant presence.


  1. Over-control talent and resources and limit the freedom of the best people.
  2. Stress people out with blatant or implicit constant judgment.
  3. Give directives.
  4. Sell decisions rather than generate buy-in.
  5. Are micromanagers who can’t quite let others own things.

I’m excited about this book!

As I write this, I’m barely a fourth of the way through. You know I’m obsessed with a few concepts, including productive conflict and healthy teams, and that fourth quality—debating decisions—is right in line with that.

Also, you may have heard me say something like, “Just treat people really really really well, and hold them to really really really high standards.” The second and fifth differentiators—creating intensity for best thinking and instilling ownership—really speak to this idea.

Something I am curious about is the intersection of these five differentiators with the concepts of servant leadership, particularly when it comes to the importance of relationship development and communication frequency and clarity.

Have you read Multipliers? I’m a little late to the game—Liz Wiseman has been on the scene for quite a while, and the first edition of the book was released in 2010, though it got a fresh update in 2017.

By the way, I have a lot of readers who are education pros who think my posts are sometimes a little too “business-y.” If that is you, then this book is also for you, big-time.

What are your big takeaways if you’ve checked it out?

2 Responses

  1. Jared Baldwin
    | Reply

    I will put this on my “must-read” list!

  2. Denise Hoy
    | Reply

    I always appreciate your recommendations for good reads! I also love the concept of “Servant Leadership” Thank you!

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