Genius or Genius-Maker?
According to surveys on engagement, most workers have greater capabilities, creativity, talent, initiative and resourcefulness than their jobs allow—or even require—them to use.
Other surveys reveal that most workers feel pressured to produce more with less.
These results are paradoxical: People are underutilized and overworked at the same time.
Fortunately, some leaders understand how to create genius within their teams: They bring out the best in people. They’re “genius-makers.”
So, how does one successfully make the shift from genius to genius-maker?
Leadership consultants Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown explore this question in Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter (HarperBusiness, 2010).
Producing More with Less
Wiseman and McKeown interviewed and assessed more than 150 leaders on their managerial practices. Their research sheds light on the important differences between the geniuses and the genius-makers:
- It isn’t how much you know that matters, but the access you have to what other people know.
- Team members should be smart, but success depends on how much of that intelligence you can draw out and put to use.
People who work for genius-makers say they give more than 100 percent of their energy and abilities (often citing 120 percent). Genius-makers encourage people to stretch their capabilities and “get smarter.” Conversely, those who work for non-genius-makers report giving only 20 to 50 percent on the job.
Many leaders tackle productivity challenges by hiring more people and achieving linear growth. Genius-makers extract the capabilities of the people already employed, achieving more with the same headcount.