Emotional Intelligence, Leading Others, Servant Leadership, Supervising People

Episode 026: Liz Wiseman with Jeff Lockyer

About This Episode

Liz Wiseman and Jeff Lockyer discuss the important leadership skill of empowerment. Going deep into Wiseman’s Multiplier and Diminisher concepts, this conversation focuses on the ways leaders unintentionally diminish those around them. Wiseman calls these leaders the Accidental Diminishers—well-intentioned leaders who may not even realize that they are having a diminishing impact. In this episode, you can learn how to: 1) Identify your Accidental Diminisher tendencies, 2) Deal with a Diminisher boss, 3) Experiment with new strategies to empower your team.

People On This Episode

Liz Wiseman

Jeff Lockyer

Tweet a Quote From This Episode

When you are being diminished, it is natural to withdraw. However, the best strategy for dealing with diminishing bosses is to multiply up. @LizWiseman  Tweet This!

If I had to place a bet on the practice that would increase leadership ability—and the choice was self-awareness or skill development—I would bet on self-awareness every time. @LizWiseman  Tweet This!

News flash on human nature: we don’t like to fail. @LizWiseman  Tweet This!

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Multiplier leaders empower other people. They use their intelligence to activate the intelligence of others. On the opposite extreme, Diminisher leaders drain the intelligence out of people. They believe that their teams will not figure it out without them. In this interview, leadership expert Liz Wiseman and Jeff Lockyer discuss the concepts of Multipliers and Diminishers, as well as a third kind of leader: the Accidental Diminisher. Learn how to increase self-awareness about your own Accidental Diminisher tendencies and increase your skills of empowerment.


  • Liz Wiseman grew up in California with a Diminisher father and a Multiplier mother.
  • She first conceived the Multiplier concept during her years at Oracle Corporation, where she noticed that not everyone who was really smart created smart people around them.
  • Multiplier leaders use their intelligence to activate the intelligence of others.
  • Diminisher leaders drain the intelligence out of people.
  • An Accidental Diminisher wants to be a good leader, yet they are having a diminishing impact. Sometimes it is easier to draw upon our own capabilities than reach out and draw the best out of others.
  • Accidental Diminisher Types:
    • Idea Guy: Fount of ideas that squeezes out creativity in their team.
    • Always On: Full of energy and exhausts other people.
    • Rescuer: Doesn’t like to see people fail so they help—maybe too soon.
    • Pace-Setter: Leading by example but may unintentionally create spectators.
    • Rapid Responder: Responds quickly—maybe too quickly.
    • Optimist: Their positivity may underplay the possibility of failure.
    • Protector: Try to keep people out of harm’s way and may over-protect.
    • Strategist: Their big visions don’t create space for other people’s visions.
    • Perfectionist: Need for perfection may put undue pressure on their team.
  • Self-Awareness is the key to overcoming a Diminisher tendency.
  • Multipliers assume “people are smart and will figure it out.” Diminishers assume “people aren’t going to figure it out without me.”
  • Some Multiplier Experiments:
    • Extreme Questions: Shift out of the mode of telling and into the mode of asking. Try going into extreme question mode when things have either gone very well or really wrong.
    • Talk Up Your Own Mistakes: If you want to increase innovation and risk taking, talk about your own mistakes.
  • When trying a new Multiplier behavior, results may not be immediate. Be patient.
  • The best strategy for dealing with a Diminisher boss is to multiply up.
  • The hallmark of a Multiplier is intellectual curiosity.


  1. Liz Wiseman described several Accidental Diminisher types in this podcast (see list above). Which of the profiles resonates with you as your potential tendency?
    My Accidental Diminisher Type might be: ________________________________________
  2. Reflect on the ways you might be unintentionally diminishing your team. What are three unintended consequences that your diminishing behavior might be having on them?
  3. Identify an “experiment” you could try in the next week to begin to break your Accidental Diminisher habit. Sign up for a free account on the Multipliers website for ideas.


What is a Multiplier?
Oracle Corporation
Larry Ellison
Carol Dweck
Multipliers Book
Multipliers Exercises
Accidental Diminisher Assessment


Liz Wiseman
The Wiseman Group
Jeff Lockyer
Southridge Community Church
The Global Leadership Summit