My job is to awaken possibilities in others.
– Benjamin Zander
Whether you’re directing an orchestra (like Zander), serving customers from a cubicle, teaching in a classroom, or leading a ministry, what if you thought of your job this way? What if you took the initiative to help the people around you make the most of the potential locked within them? The quote above has stuck with me for several years. When I first heard it, I wrote it down on the nearest scrap of paper I could find and stuck it on my desk. 8 simple words that still resonate and still shape what I do.
Recently, I came across another set of a lot more words that expound on this idea in the form of a book called Multipliers by Liz Wiseman with Greg Keown. After studying business leaders and practices, they’ve come to the conclusion that leaders encourage their people to give their best work by amplifying what their people do, that leaders who are multipliers seem to make everyone around them a lot smarter and more effective, and that leaders can learn to be such multipliers. A few things really stood out to me from this book:
- Multipliers believe their team is smart and can figure it out. Diminishers believe the team can’t do it without them.
- Multipliers attract talented people, liberate them to think and do, and challenge them to go beyond what they thought they could handle. Diminishers will eventually drive away people who want to make the most of their talent by ignoring what they know and effecting the death of their imagination and energy levels.
- Multipliers invest in people by giving them ownership and accountability. Diminishers micromanage by delegating tasks instead of responsibility.
These ideas have big implications in the business world. How much more so in ministry?
Is there any area of leadership where multipliers are more needed? My guess is “No.” The church should never be limited by the caps the leaders put on their own abilities and knowledge and energy. In fact, I believe being a multiplier isn’t just a good business practice that we should adopt, it is our mandate:
Go into all the world and make disciples…
That’s not just a suggestion to go turn people into a bunch of clones of ourselves or to gather a team to get our own vision accomplished. It’s a directive to lead people in following the one who can truly empower them to make the most of everything they are for the glory of God. Take a few minutes and reflect on your own job or ministry. If you tend to slip into “accidental diminisher” mode, do your team a favor and look into Multipliers. They’ll appreciate it, and the joy of meaningful movement may just return to your job again as your team gathers positive momentum.
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