Do you work with a Diminisher?
Here are 13 techniques to overcome the negative effects of a ‘diminisher’ manager or colleague
In a Multipliers culture, managers actively bring out the best ideas and full intelligence of their employees.
But, if your manager hasn’t quite mastered being a Multiplier yet, it’s likely that they are in fact diminishing your capability or contribution – albeit unintentionally.
As an employee you can help shape the Multiplier culture in your organisation by offering your full contribution and responding to diminishing behaviour in effective ways.
The following 13 strategies help employees combat the reductive effect of a diminishing leader or colleague and maximise their own contribution.
Coping Strategy: Defending Against Diminisher Behaviours
1. Turn down the volume
Decrease the volume of diminishing messages and increase the volume of other, more enabling, voices – your own, as well as those of supportive leaders and colleagues.
2. Strengthen other connections
If you can’t get inside the Diminisher’s trust circle, build other circles of
influence by increasing your connections with different people and work.
3. Retreat and regroup
Instead of trying to diffuse a Diminisher on the spot, gracefully retreat and regroup. Acknowledge that they’ve given you ideas to consider and ask to meet again.
4. Send the right signals
You can earn more space by determining what is important to the Diminisher and then sending signals that it is also important to you.
5. Assert your capability
Sometimes you need to tell an overly helpful manager or colleague that you don’t need help. Let them know what you are prepared to do (and then be sure to do it).
6. Ask for performance intel
When a Diminisher becomes immediately prescriptive, ask them to back it up and provide more context and direction so that you can get it right.
7. Shop for a new boss
If the only way forward is to quit, don’t just swap one bad manager for another. Instead of simply searching for a new job, shop for a Multiplier boss (see shopping guide on page 338 of the Multipliers book).
Coping Strategy: Bringing out the Best in your Manager
8. Exploit your bosses strengths
Instead of trying to change your boss, focus on trying to better utilise their knowledge and skills in service of the work you’re leading.
9. Give them a user’s guide
You don’t need to wait until your higher-ups discover your true brilliance; you can be proactive by simply telling people what you are good at and how you can be best used.
10. Listen to learn
Instead of dismissing a Diminisher’s criticism, figure out what this person can teach you and then let them know what insights you gained from them.
11. Admit your mistakes
Instead of hiding your misdeeds (which typically invites greater levels of micromanaging), own your mistake, communicate what you learned, and earn the space you need to get it right the next time.
12. Sign up for a stretch
Just because your boss hasn’t asked you to take on a new challenge doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer. Send signals that you are ready to tackle a challenge that is a size too big.
13. Invite them to the party
Instead of keeping the Diminisher out of your business or at arms length, try bringing them in and steering their contribution to where it is most valuable (or perhaps just least diminishing).
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