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I heard Liz Wiseman speak recently (co-author of Multipliers)… on leadership styles. She asked the participants to think of a boss who had made them feel great and as a result how did we ‘perform’ for that boss. Then to think about a boss who made us feel smaller.
Liz outlined that leaders who make people feel smarter (multiply) as opposed to leaders who make people feel smaller (diminish) – will get more than double the capability from those people. She said it is like releasing the power of genius in everyone. Growing without one additional team member.

There is an online test that you can do to find out if you are an ‘accidental’ diminisher – it is worth the 10 minutes to complete.
I clearly remember my manager at Ansett Airlines, never making time for me, I almost had to beg for her to see me and review what ever I had been working on. I would hang around her office door trying to catch her attention…. And if she did finally bestow some of her precious time on me – I usually left feeling like and idiot… because of the way she would say ‘why didn’t you….’
Contrast this to the manager I had at Apple a few years later – who always prioritized our weekly one on one meetings – I felt that she was truly interested. I felt I could ask questions, and that we ‘were in this together’ I worked 10 times harder, I felt challenged, and proud when I finished the project… I was definitely contributing my ‘genius.’
My colleague Matt forwarded me this blog post…. where Nokia CEO basically says…”We Suck”

“…This is what I have been trying to understand. I believe at least some of it has been due to our attitude inside Nokia. We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven’t been delivering innovation fast enough. We’re not collaborating internally….”

Does this comment make people feel ‘Smarter’ or ‘Smaller’  – it is great to be authentic… it is what we want most from our leaders. But I am sure there is a way to be authentic without diminishing peoples efforts, to inspire them, challenge them and make them feel great about what they do every day.
What do you think? Is this great authentic leadership?

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