I spent a couple of days last week at a satellite feed for the 2013 Global Leadership Summit sponsored by Willow Creek Church located near Chicago. Our church was a “Premier Host Site.” which we have been for several years. The summit brings together leaders not only from religious institutions but also people with proven track records in encouraging excellence and achievement in their field while at the same time they nurture the human element in these groups.
The speakers were uniformly excellent, with incisive insights into their topics. I could focus on the learnings from any one of them, but I was particularly impressed with Liz Wiseman, who talked about “diminishers” and “multipliers” in organizations. We all have known both in our experience. Diminishers try to lead by belittling, withholding information, scolding, gossip and a dozen other strategies we all know too well. As a result, the people they are trying to read do not put their energy into the process or product: Wiseman’s research indicated that their energy level was around 43% of what they could contribute. On the other hand, multipliers work by sharing power, knowing their people as human beings, keeping them informed, praising and offering help when needed. People are willing to give 91% of their effort to people like this.
We were invited to think of both kinds of leaders, and I’m sure you can do this for both. I had had (mercifully very few) teachers who should not have been teaching. They made me hate their subject; I didn’t put much effort into it and I didn’t do well as a result. I have been blessed to have many more multipliers, including numerous excellent teachers who cared for me and for their subjects, and a long string of principals who were some of the most phenomenal multipliers on the planet. I hope the same had been true for you.
It occurred to me in listening to these leaders that the Bible has been there first. Jesus spoke of the importance of treating others as we would be treated, in knowing the each others’ needs, of being there for each other. If I had to put the lessons of the Summit into one word, it would be encouragement. Speaker after speaker spoke of the difficult times that come to every organization and every individual and of how important it is to keep pressing on, to not grow discouraged and to encourage each other.
I pray that we might indeed do all these things.