Are You A Multiplier Or Diminisher?

How do we tap into the talent in our schools?

Well according to Wiseman, Allen and Foster (2013) there are some leaders who are multipliers and some who are diminishers.

Multipliers are those leaders who attract and develop talent, and harness new ideas and energy to drive educational innovation.

Diminishers are myopic leaders that drain the intelligence from their staff and sap their strength. They generate negative feelings and don’t get any discretionary effort back as people find it easier to retreat. They underutilise people and they leave their talent dormant and wasted. As Wiseman, Allen and Foster (2013) say, they stiffle people are idea killers: “They create stress and pressure that can shut down good ideas.”

Fortunately there are more multipliers than diminishers.

So what is it that multipliers do so well? Wiseman et al tell us that they:

  • use their intelligence to amplify the talents of those around them
  • they double the brainpower inside a school
  • encourage ideas to flow
  • give staff permission to think
  • inspire staff to stretch themselves and deliver results that surpass expectations
  • make everyone around them better and more capable
  • liberate their team
  • challenge their team
  • debate decisions
  • build communities and collaboration
  • operate with a sense of humour
  • invest in people and relationships
  • instill ownership and accountability
  • they are tough and exacting
  • leverage resources
  • create intensity that requires best thinking

The multiplier effect is what Andy Cope (2018) describes as “the organic set of positive emotions which flow out in ripples from good leadership.”

When our schools are led by multipliers than great things happen. They don’t blame the system and become victims, they work with the resources they have and they get the best out of people,  unleash their brilliance and let them thrive. They create the conditions where colleagues respect and support each other which is one of the five characteristics of personal fulfillment according to Schwabel (2018).

So are you a multiplier? The Wiseman Group have produced a quiz so you can find out! Good luck.


For further insights see the updated edition of The Multiplier Effect in Liz Wiseman’s Multipliers, Revised and Updated: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smart


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