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Do you ever read a book that gives you the right terminology to discuss ideas? It’s such a great feeling to have a new vocabulary to express concepts you previously couldn’t explain. That’s how I felt after I finished reading Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman. If you want to read the full book, buy it here.

Here’s the basic concept: Multipliers grow people and people then work harder and smarter, while Diminishers take their employees for granted, stunt their growth, and underutilize their abilities. Another way to understand the Multiplier mindset is to look at each of the five disciplines.

The Five Disciplines of the Multiplier

Woman presenting at whiteboard

Talent Magnets

Attracting and optimizing talent


Creating intensity that requires best thinking - creating an environment that is both comfortable AND intense


Extending challenges

Debate Makers

Debating Decisions


Instilling Ownership and accountability

Each of these made a lot of sense to me. Then, I got to this idea of “Accidental Diminishers.” I was still thinking, “Yes, this is so true,” but I was also thinking, “Yes, this is so me.”

To lead on purpose, we must understand how we diminish by accident.

Liz WisemanMultipliers

Intuition and good intentions are not enough to make us Multipliers.  We have to be deliberate in leadership in order to ensure that people feel valued and truly grow. So, without further ado, here are the nine Accidental Diminisher Tendencies:

Idea Guy

Having all the ideas can prevent your team from sharing their own thoughts.

Always On

Being the one who’s always talking and sharing can dim others’ voices.


When you save people all the time, they become dependent.


If you go fast, everyone else will, right? Not always – sometimes they give up when they can’t keep up.

Rapid Responder

If you’re always responding people will think it’s your job to handle tasks, not theirs.


When you talk about tasks as if they will be super easy and doable, it minimizes the hard work and struggle that people put forth.


Standing up for people is sometimes good, but people also need to learn to fight their own battles.


Questioning the status quo can be beneficial, but not when it prevents people from finding answers and moving forward.


If you’re always telling someone their work isn’t good enough, they’ll feel criticized and disheartened.

Any of those stand out to you? Personally, I know I have major Rescuer, Optimist, and Perfectionist tendencies… okay, and Pacesetter, Idea Guy, and Always On, too. It’s challenging to not fall into these traps, because many of these are “good” things, right? It’s like anything else though, it has to be given in small doses.

At first, I was discouraged when I realized I had a number of these traits. However, I know it’s SO much better to be aware of them than oblivious to these habits. Now, I can work on fixing them. In fact, Multipliers has a number of learning experiments developed to help combat these tendencies. I might have to try a few out!

Are you wondering where your weak spots are? Take the “Are you an Accidental Diminisher?” quiz to find out.

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