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Parent: Are You a Multiplier or a Diminisher?

By Zach Lahn on December 16, 2021

Do you consider yourself a powerful leader and guide of others?

If not, I welcome you to this new acknowledgement.

If so, have you fully embraced this role?

At Wonder, we believe that parents are the key Guides and Leaders of their children. This is a powerful role, for good or bad.

As a result of this self-identity, I choose to read leadership and management books more often than “parenting” books. I find gems of ideas that I apply as readily in the kitchen as I do around a boardroom table.

Some of my favorites have been The E-Myth Manager, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and The Dream Manager.

Most recently, I read The Multiplier Effect: Tapping The Genius Inside our Schools. While I apply this directly in my work, I found it even more powerful when I reflected on it with my parent cap on.

I offer these ideas to you during this season when hard work is at a peak at school and frenetic schedules are lurking as the holidays approach.

First, two definitions from the book:

Multiplier – the people who make others around them smarter and better; they create genius around them; they exhilarate others and make people feel energized to work hard and do their best; they ensure direction gets set with input from others.

Diminisher – the people who drain energy and intelligence from people; they have a need to be right and have all the answers; they create stress and shut down good ideas; they set the direction for others to follow.

As a parent, isn’t my goal to guide in a way that frees my children to be all they were created to be? To challenge them to discover their gifts and have the courage to pursue their dreams? I wanted to know more about what I can do to multiply rather than dimish the treasures of my life: my children.

Here are some questions from the book to ponder:

1. Do you ask questions or answer them?

2. Are you a challenger who generates new ideas from others or a know-it-all who wants things done your way?

3. Do you add stress to others’ days or create opportunities for others to function in their own best way?

4. Do you listen or talk more?

5. Do you provide safety and security that invites free thinking or do you instill a fear of judgment about what others think?

6. Do you offer choices and space for failure or do you give directives?

7. Are your expectations clear and high or unclear and inconsistent?

8. Do you embrace a good debate or prefer to deny or avoid conflict?

I closed the book and thought that not only do I want to be a Multiplier, but I want my children to learn to be Multipliers in their own lives.

Dr. CK Prahalad is quoted after reading the book: “This is a really important idea because the critical skill of this century will not be what you know but rather how quickly and how deeply you can tap into what the people around you know.”

Happy Multiplying!

[Blogs or portion of blogs may be adapted from the blog of our partner school founder and advisor, Laura Sandefer.]