There's no question that most business leaders are usually highly intelligent. But what if the very thing propelling you forward in the beginning was, in reality, now the one thing holding you back?

I've just finished reading the international best-selling novel Multipliers by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown, and I wanted to share with you first-hand some really powerful lessons I've learned.

In life, there are two types of leaders: Multipliers and Diminishers. Which one are you? And how can you find out for sure?

I must confess, when reading this book I identified elements of both traits in my own leadership style and quickly set about changing for the better. I was also quick to recall 'Multiplier' leaders I've worked for in the past that I admired and respected as well as the 'Diminishers' that made life difficult.

One style creates genius around you. The other is centered around your own abilities, standards and personal input.

Would you prefer to be the genius, or the genius-maker? The difference in an organization can be astounding.

If you follow the five simple disciplines of a Multiplier, you will be able to access these life-changing principles on a daily basis.

1. Talent Management

Have you ever marveled at how certain individuals surround themselves with endless talent? You've been looking at Multipliers.

To become one, you need to start inspiring and encouraging others to achieve greatness. Trust is key. It plays a big role in encouraging new recruits to join you, so make sure people can put their faith in you.

Once talent is acquired, multipliers are excellent at ensuring staff retention. This means setting a powerful example and following up on it with consistent action.

Diminishers, on the other hand, are empire builders. They seek out staff and teams that suit their own ends. Rather than lead by example, Diminishers actually turn staff off and hinder growth by becoming over invested in their own pursuits or perceived greatness.

Don't fall into this trap.

2. Liberator

Everyone respects leaders who create an intensity that drives great thinking.

Multipliers set clear objectives and goals. It doesn't mean acting like a tyrant. Quite the opposite: You push your team and light the fire for passion and success.

Diminishers monitor their workforce with ruthless efficiency. I'm sure you can think of a few people that just can't seem to put faith or trust in their employees.

Some Diminishers will often get involved and try to force their will or judgment upon others. That's not going to help anything, and it's a sure-fire way to de-motivate your talent.

3. Extend Challenges

Multipliers are master motivators. You have the power to do exactly the same, and it starts by extending challenges to your employees.

When you lay down a clearly communicated challenge, you allow your staff to rise to the challenge and overcome it. This empowers the individual, and creates a level of accountability among the team.

The Diminisher, meanwhile, is a "know-it-all" who doesn't push people outside their comfort zone. This hinders growth and sends a very clear message: "You're not good enough, and I don't trust you."

4. Debate Decisions

The best leaders are the ones who actively seek and spark debate.

To foster debate and encourage conversation amongst employees, you need to push people to question existing practices and "status-quo" decision-making. Set your ego aside and put your own decisions to the judgment of the group.

This isn't a weakness. In fact, you can still make tough decisions. Heated, thoughtful debate will usually lead to better outcomes.

The Diminisher is a decision-maker who believes their high-ranking position or years of experience justifies autonomous decision-making.

This leads to rash, hasty decision-making that frequently hurts the company as a whole. It's another symptom of attempting to prove your "superior" intellect in all situations.

5. The Investor

The best leaders invest in people.

You can become an investor by giving staff full ownership of projects and accounts. This doesn't mean you come in and take over a project.

You can watch it for progress, but ultimately the accountability for that project falls on the person in charge. This is a difficult task for many people, since it essentially means relinquishing control.

Remember: If you're pawning off projects that you know nothing about, you're not really giving up control.

Hand off things you know you can do. Accept and live with the results. Otherwise, staff will never flourish and achieve their full potential.

Diminishers are micro-managers who cannot let go of control. Being out of control might scare them so much that staff members are never given the freedom to develop their own skills. This is dangerous and usually implies acting from ego, something you should try to avoid at all costs.

Published on: Oct 31, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.