Are you a Genius or a Genius Maker?


“I have smart people but I underutilize their potential,” the CEO confessed. “I don’t know what I should do differently though. I feel like I am the #1 bottleneck in my organization.”

My client was right: she was a genius with a thousand helpers, and she needed to become a genius maker in order to accelerate her business growth. Some leaders are great at amplifying the intelligence of others. What do they do differently?

The short answer is: they have developed a number of habits to make people around them smarter. Researcher Liz Wiseman identified these habits in her book “Multipliers.”

Why is it a problem?

Liz Wiseman’s research shows that managers are utilizing just 76% of their direct reports’ capabilities on average. In other words, you pay people for 100% of their time, but you waste 24% of it.

Most of our diminishing tendencies are accidental – despite our best intentions, we diminish our team from time to time.

Accidental diminishing tendencies are obviously a blind spot. But we may not uncover all of them in the feedback from our team members: some love being diminished – because in the short term it makes their life easier.

Regardless of whether our diminishing tendencies are accidental or not, the impact, in the long run, is that they curtail the personal development of our team members, prevent us from accessing our team’s full intelligence, and consequently increase our frustration about our team’s inability to rise to the challenges – and ultimately prevent us from growing our business to its full potential.

How can I become more of a Multiplier and less of a Diminisher?

Multipliers “make people around them smarter and more capable; they assume that people are smart and will figure it out. They believe that intelligence and abilities can be cultivated through effort.” Diminishers on the other hand assume that people “can’t figure it out without them; they have a fixed mindset towards their team members’ intelligence.”

By analyzing data on more than a hundred leaders Liz Wiseman’s team was able to identify 5 disciplines that differentiate Multipliers from Diminishers. You can find out about how to become more of a Multiplier and less of a Diminisher here: Are you a genius or a genius maker? – Ambrose Growth | Business Coaching.

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

About the author
Xavier Lederer of Ambrose Growth is a member of XPX Hartford

Call me when your client is frustrated because their business is not growing as fast as they want. As a business coach I help companies identify and remove growth roadblocks so they can grow faster and with less pain.