The bestiary of superiors

The bestiary of superiors

Everybody sure experienced different leading approaches of superiors, or is possibly heading a team himself or herself. Let's have a look on how people lead others.

Usually managers are divided into multipliers and diminishers. The latter make discussion rather a formality, if it ever takes place. They choke all their subordinate's own initiative and enthusiasm, spoiling the work place climate. In their book Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter psychologists Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown characterize several subspecies of this kind.

The imperators gather talents around themselves, but to exploit rather to foster them. The tyrant generates an unpleasant atmosphere around himself or herself, for whatever reason. This is disastrous in so far that people become afraid presenting their own opinions and ideas. The know-it-alls don't respect any view different from their own - which don't conduces to the common cause either. Similarly individuals of the subgroup called decision makers act on their own without including the team. Often they're almost pathologically obsessed with details that even don't constitute their actual agenda.

Diminishers' antipodes are called multipliers, people who try to integrate the whole team, rather asking questions and weighing possibilities than deciding blindly. Such leaders have higher expectations on their staff and are constantly looking to find the right place for every team member where his or her abilities are fully unleashed.

Wiseman and McKeown describe the following subtypes of multipliers: the talent magnets who attract people with potential and support their further growth. The emancipators focus on a good climate within the team, knowing that this is the key to getting the best performance out of their staff. A challenger pushes his or her colleagues into difficult situations to let them improve themselves. The debating type of superior is aware that good decision making is best supported by an open and honest discussion. And finally the investor is a person who seems himself or herself as a mentor of his subordinates, sharing the success with the entire collective.

Of course most leaders are rather a combination of the types outlined above. To find out which approach does apply in your case simply reflect your behavior in an open and unbiased analysis. After all the key to effective management is best summarized in this quote: Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.

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