Source: Multipliers, How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter (Author Liz Wiseman)
Recently at the SABPP Launch of the Leadership Standard Journey, held on the 26th October 2017, the attendees were introduced to the concept of “Multiplier and Diminisher”. It was excellently explained by speaker Selo Govender, Head of People Development, Human Resources, COE: People and Organisational Effectiveness at Sasol Group Services.
It was comforting to embrace the impact of such a concept when launching the Leadership Standard in South Africa, and to acknowledge that it is practiced in South Africa within Sasol. The idea positions leadership to drive growth through talent, leadership inspiration and practices – three very important aspects that supports excellent leadership standards.
The “Multiplier and Diminisher” concept was created by author Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown in the book entitled Multipliers, How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. The first part of this article draws on Wiseman’s and McKeown’s work, while the second part focuses on the relevance thereof within the context of the new South African leadership standard.
As Selo Govender spoke about the important of culture and employee inclusion within Sasol, the slide on Multipliers Descriptors and Diminisher Descriptors, sealed the importance of leadership standards and principles, that by evidence, makes a positive impact on the success of an organisation. The Multiplier description focuses key elements of Talent Management, Liberator, Challenger, Debate Maker and Investor. These elements are core for authentic and excellence in leadership style and manner.
The Multiplier description drives the elements that lead people with confidence and trust, and most importantly accountability. The model creates a relationship between leadership and employees that is balanced and feed off each other to develop each other. It is a sharing platform, with ownership and sound decisions the fruit of the style.
The Diminisher descriptor, describes elements fitting to the “diminisher” meaning, i.e. “To make smaller or less; reduce or lessen, to detract from the authority, reputation, or prestige of”.
A complete opposite to the Multiplier description and literally destroys the growth and moral of the company. A definite contrast to each other, however both a reality. Many organisations still confuse management with leadership, and many organisations still have diminishing leadership driving them.
The reality bites further with people positioned as leaders drive their people with Diminisher descriptors like Empire Building, Tyrant, Know-it-all, Decision maker and Micro-Manager. By allowing such stains on what true leadership should be, is at the detriment of the people who are faced with “Diminishers”. In fact, it is it a detriment to the credibility and reputation of Leaders within organisations and Human Resources, as they are both responsible for the “people/talent” of the organisation. They are the custodians of the employees, and must lead with “Multiplier” competencies.
The SABPP Leadership Standard is delivered in the midst of the crisis of leadership within the country and work environment. “Poor leadership is holding back the development of the South Africa we want to see, so the SABPP, Talent Talks and Wits have committed to bring forth action and lead with a standard of excellence in leadership. The effects of poor leadership can be seen across society:
The period 2015-2017 has presented us with several cases of poor leadership in each of the above three categories. Some of the reported cases in the media are as follows:
Some of the possible causes of leadership failures are as follows:
The results of poor leadership are manifold and include, amongst other things:
The consequences of poor leadership, is diminishing to not just an individual but to an entire workforce, a society and even a country. It seems that even though Leadership is an old and familiar friend, we have not been very good at spending prolific time with it, making it comfortable in excellence to drive a high standard of delivery and introducing it to our leadership in a “Multiplier” expectation.
There is no room for poor leadership any more. It should not be tolerated, accepted, disguised or feared. It should not be promoted or hidden. Leadership should not be allowed to be a “Diminisher” in any form. And we have a responsibility to ensure that poor or diminishing leadership is eradicated.
It was refreshing to hear Selo Govender promote the “Multiplier” elements of leadership, and challenge the audience to identify it and grow within their organisations. It was hopeful that even within the leadership crisis, we have a standard and the “Multiplier” to steer us in the right direction.
And hence I leave readers with this game changing question, Are you a Multiplier or Diminisher? I challenge leaders to embrace the South African leadership standard and to unleash the potential of our workforce. Let us build better organisations and an empowered society by becoming multiplying leaders.
This article was written by Lathasha Subban, Head: Knowledge and Innovation (SABPP)
For more information on the SABPP Leadership Standard contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.sabpp.co.za The book on Multipliers is available from www.amazon.com A special word of thanks to Selo Govender from Sasol for inspiring me with her presentation to write this article. She is indeed a multiplier!
 SABPP Leaders Standard Guideline, 2017, Author: Marius Meyer CEO of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP)