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IMPACT PLAYERS meaningful contribution – they want their work to matter and to make a difference in the world . They want to be engaged and to be respected for their contribution . Lacking clear guidance , too many consume career advice dished out on social media and served up in sound bites from commencement speeches . These sources may sound enticing , but they tend to offer the junk food versions of professional advice : prepackaged , overly processed , and lacking in nutritional value .


However , while leadership is an essential factor — and one that deserves further exploration — it isn ’ t the only factor . Leaders certainly bear the responsibility for creating an inclusive environment and providing the right direction and coaching , but the way the contributor works matters as well . As one manager described it to me , “ You can ’ t multiply zero .” He wasn ’ t disparaging the individual ’ s capability , he was suggesting that it ’ s difficult to lead someone who doesn ’ t bring the right mindsets and practices . He ’ s right , and so is the math : managers may be multipliers , but the contributor is also a variable in the equation – the way they work determines their level of contribution , influence , and eventual impact .
As the workplace has become less hierarchical and more complex , numerous researchers , myself included , have articulated new models of leadership , but who has been studying the new model of contributorship ? There are thousands of books about how to excel as a leader , but how does one become a top contributor ? There is a host of unanswered questions : What makes someone influential inside an organization ? What are the mindsets and practices that differentiate the most impactful players from others on a team ? How do contributors influence their leaders and build organizational support for their ideas and initiatives without positional authority ? Are these skills learnable ?
Through the mind of both managers and aspiring leaders , I ’ ve come to understand what differentiates the most impactful players from everyone else and how small , seemingly insignificant differences in how we think and act can make an enormous impact . As you come to know this difference yourself , you can access this high-contribution , high-reward way of working , and you can join the ranks of the impact players , and find deeper meaning and fulfillment in your work .
It ' s not easy to become an Impact Player . You don ’ t need special talent or capability , but you do need to understand the mindsets and behaviors that differentiate Impact Players from other contributors . However , you can master these mindsets and practices .
For some , leadership is about having a bigger voice where you are in a position to influence others and make a difference in the world . For others , your leadership will take the form of a managerial role where you will be in a position to coach others . By working with the Impact Player Mindset , you will be a natural for these roles . You will already be seen as a leader , and you will be practiced in leading through influence and collaborating in a way that multiplies not diminishes the capability of those you work with . +
Liz Wiseman is a researcher and executive advisor who teaches leadership to executives around the world . She is the author of New York Times best seller Multipliers : How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter , The Multiplier Effect : Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools , and Wall Street Journal best seller Rookie Smarts : Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work .
She is the CEO of the Wiseman Group , a leadership research and development firm headquartered in Silicon Valley , California . Some of her recent clients include : Apple , AT & T , Disney , Facebook , Google , Microsoft , Nike , Salesforce , Tesla , and Twitter . Liz has been listed on the Thinkers50 ranking and in 2019 was recognized as the top leadership thinker in the world .
TheWisemanGroup . com
Modified excerpt from Impact Players : How to Take the Lead , Play Bigger , and Multiply Your Impact . Copyright © 2021 by the author and reprinted by permission of Harper Business .