By Phil Klutts
March 14, 2023

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

Using findings from her research, Liz Wiseman offers tips for becoming a more effective leader in her book, Multipliers.
(Photo: Brent Fuchs)

By Liz Wiseman

“Multipliers” was first published in 2010 and revised and updated in 2017. I first read the book just this year but wish I had found it earlier in my leadership journey. Liz Wiseman writes with incredible insight and a well-seasoned storytelling ability. Her research partner, Greg McKeown, is also a favorite author of mine. We’ve also published two reviews of McKeown’s own books.

“Multipliers” is a leadership book that explores the idea that some leaders have a knack for extracting the best out of their team members, while others tend to drain intelligence and capability from their teams. Wiseman calls the first type of leader “multipliers” and the second type “diminishers.” If you are like me, you will undoubtedly remember multipliers and diminishers from your own career and probably instances when you were a diminishing leader. 

The book is based on a five-year research study conducted by Wiseman, McKeown, and their team, in which they interviewed over 150 executives and observed the leadership styles of over 5,000 leaders. Through their research, Wiseman and team identified key behaviors that define multipliers:

  1. Multipliers are talent magnets: People want to work for multipliers because they know they will be fully utilized and developed. 
  2. Multipliers are liberators: They create an environment that brings out the best and boldest efforts of their teams. 
  3. Multipliers are challengers: They inspire and challenge their team members to take on new problems and stretch themselves. They create an environment that is both demanding and safe, encouraging team members to take risks and learn from their mistakes.
  4. Multipliers are debate makers: They ensure sound decisions are made and execution happens efficiently by debating the issues up-front rather than deciding on their own. 
  5. Multipliers are investors: By investing in others, they create the ownership needed to produce results independently of the leader. 

Throughout the book, Wiseman uses concrete examples to illustrate the various points she makes about the differences between multipliers and diminishers. She also offers practical advice on how leaders can become more like multipliers and less like diminishers, including tips on how to delegate effectively, build trust, and cultivate a positive work culture. The diagrams, pictures, and charts in the book help visualize and easily decode the action steps to become a better leader. 

Wiseman also includes a section on how to create a culture of multipliers. The 10 Practices to Build A Multiplier Culture are broken into five levels and are easily executable for any leader of leaders. Walking through this process will help your entire organization embrace and benefit from the multiplier principles. 

Overall, “Multipliers” is an insightful and thought-provoking read that offers valuable insights into the art of leadership. It is well-written and easy to understand, with plenty of real-life examples to illustrate the various points made throughout the book. 

Whether you’re a seasoned leader looking to improve your skills or a newcomer to the field, this book is well worth checking out. I’ve already started my second reading of the book to help improve my leadership. 

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About Phil Klutts

Phil is an Edmond native and has managed to keep his wife here instead of traveling the world, which they both enjoy. They have two boys who love the outdoors, adventures, and learning new things. Phil is a problem-solver at heart and enjoys connecting people to the resources they need.

In addition to being the co-owner of Edmond Business, Phil founded the CK Group LLC after working for large and small businesses in the Energy, Construction, and Fitness industries. He focuses on helping small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their systems and processes. CK Group LLC's mission is to eliminate chaos and create clarity for small business by connecting vision, strategy, and implementation.