Creating Winning Teams: Are you a Subtracter or a Multiplier?

By | October 7, 2014

Kool Derby

In his book, The Qualities of a Team Player, leadership expert Dr. John Maxwell discusses the difference between a subtracter and a multiplier on a winning team. Knowing the difference can determine the success of your organization.

The Subtracter

The subtracter will do whatever possible to sabotage the success of the team. This person complains about team members, ridicules the leadership team, performs below expectations, and creates negative energy. Because subtracters view teamwork as extra duty, they will never volunteer to participate. When assigned by their manager, they express resentment for the additional work and time that is outside the scope of their job descriptions.

The Multiplier

The multiplier is the opposite of the subtracter. Dr. Maxwell mentions that these individuals are committed to enlarging other people. Multipliers value their teammates, and look for the excellent skills they bring to the team.

Forming a high-performing team requires leadership to understand what motivates each team member. Dr. Maxwell recommends asking the following questions of the team members:

  • What are their dreams?
  • What are their values?
  • What are their skills?
  • What is their attitude?
  • What are the questions of their life?

Get to Know your Team

Creating a high-performing team requires both talent and hard work. It is both an art and a science. An excellent leader takes a macro view of the situation, and looks for individuals who can perform the work required to meet the team’s objectives. The goal is to align the skills of each team member with the required duties. Team members must also have the capacity or bandwidth to contribute to the team.

Once the team is formed, the leader should focus on the key motivators for each team member. By getting to know what is important for every participant, the leader creates an environment of high-trust, transparency, and commitment to excellence. In essence, this attention to detail exponentially increases the chances of the team meeting its overall objectives.

When a team leader is diligent about forming and developing the team, subtracters are nonexistent in the equation.

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