Do you need to be the smartest person in the room?

In Liz Wiseman’s book, Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, she invites leaders to assess several key questions: Are you the genius or the genius maker? Are you a Multiplier (someone who uses their intelligence to bring out the best in others) or a Diminisher (the “smartest person in the room” who shuts everyone else down)?

Leaders who struggle with allowing others to be smart are often driven by their ego, insecurities, or a desire to jump in and top any idea. Here are three skills you can use to empower and engage others to showcase their creativity, experience, and perspectives:

– Consider the percentage of time you spend talking versus listening.
– Decide when to be the expert with the “right” answer, and when to allow your team to work through the process of coming up with it themselves.
– Step back from being the driver of the discussion and ask someone on your team to take the lead.