My supervisor recently had us all read Liz Wiseman’s book Multipliers; it’s a fairly straightforward encouragement to leaders for them to lead in such a way as to encourage (‘multiply’) the best contributions from their followers while avoiding ‘diminishing’ behaviors.
From a followership perspective, I very much appreciated Chapter 8, “Dealing with Diminishers.” Within this leadership manual, Wiseman addresses this chapter to followers, with some concrete strategies for how to get out of negative cycles in unhealthy leader-follower dynamics, and ways to maintain one’s sanity—and even improve the situation—if you work under a diminishing boss.
The more ironic thing than finding a follower-focused chapter in a leadership book, is that I found much of her advice to accord with the leader-focused chapter in my followership book!
In Part 6 of Embracing Followership, I lay out several approaches that leaders can adopt in order to facilitate excellent followership; you can find them explored in this 4-part Leadership Lessons blog series. Along with many of the other prominent followership themes, I saw many great parallels to the Multiplier approach to leadership.
Applying both Wiseman’s insights and my own recommendations would seem to be a key approach to exponential growth: leaders multiplying their followers, and followers multiplying their leaders.
Some of the strategies that Wiseman offers to followers (along with similarities from Embracing Followership) include:
- Strengthen other connections (provide a network of support; Ch 6)
- Send the right signals (requires awareness of self and personality; Ch 9 & 11)
- Shop for a new boss (choose your boss; Ch 17)
- Exploit your boss’s strengths (display dependence; Ch 24)
- Give them a user’s guide (ownership, and clarifying vision & role; Ch 7 & 12)
- Listen to learn (submit; Ch 4, 5, 15)
- Invite them to the party (invite in; Ch 26)
I won’t try to encapsulate all the rest of the advice that Wiseman provides (to leaders and to followers). Rather, I’ll just say: if you’re looking for a leader-focused companion volume to Embracing Followership, Liz Wiseman’s Multipliers perhaps accords best with my own heart for seeing followers excel. These are complementary approaches which establish both leaders and followers with the right perspectives to collaborate together and encourage mutual excellence.
And if you’ve read Multipliers, you’ll find Embracing Followership a helpful guidebook for equipping you to work well with your leader—in both multiplying and diminishing contexts.
It’s a two-way dynamic between leaders and followers in order to construct the environment and relationships to enable organizational excellence and achievement to occur, and both parties need to be equipped and encouraged to engage. Multiplying leadership and embraced followership would seem to be in concert with one another to help whole organizations move forward.
For encouragement and guidance in understanding and applying yourself to following and leading with excellence and helping others to do the same, see:
Embracing Followership: How to Thrive in a Leader-Centric Culture (by Allen Hamlin Jr; Feb 2016), and A Discussion Guide for Teams & Small Groups (Dec 2017) —