Catabolic vs. Anabolic Leaders – Part 3
In our exploration of thecharacteristics of anabolic and catabolic leaders, so far we’ve determined thatanabolic leaders “lead” and “participate,” while catabolic leaders “manage” and“delegate.” Let’s look at another aspectof leadership - how information is passed along to others – to further see thedifference between the two types of leaders.
In any type of leadership role –whether as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or as a parent, impartinginformation to others is an integral and essential part of leading. Catabolicleaders give information, while anabolic leaders share information.
“Giving” means to convey, transmit,assign, or allot. When we give to others, we no longer have ownership of whatwe give. “Sharing,” on the other hand, means to partake of, use, or experiencewith others. When we share, we’re still part of the process – we’re “in it”with the other person. It’s similar to the difference between catabolicdelegating and anabolic participating.
When a catabolic leader givesinformation to others, they do so without much explanation, and with littlebuy-in or justification. An anabolic leader who shares information, however,explains well and gets buy-in, which builds trust, develops rapport, anddeepens the connection with the other person.
Which of the following leaders is morelikely to get the result they desire?
Catabolic leader – John, I need arundown of the responsibilities of the people in your department. Please get itto me by tomorrow afternoon, if not sooner.
Anabolic leader – John, we’reconsidering bringing in some additional staff members to ease some of theproduction crunch you and your department are under. I’d like a rundown of theresponsibilities of the people in your department so that I can see who’s doingwhat and where some gaps might be. SinceI’d like to get this process underway soon, how possible would it be to getthis to me by tomorrow afternoon or earlier? After I take a look at it, I’dlove to sit down with you to hear your ideas for resolving this. How does thatsound?
The two leaders asked for the sameinformation – but how differently they asked, and how different the result islikely to be! John’s response to the catabolic leader would probably be toquestion what was going on and to worry about his department and the peopleunder him, and to either put off doing the task or do it in perfunctory way. His response to the anabolic leader, on theother hand, would most likely be to jump right into the task, do it well, andgenerate ideas for improvement.
Anabolic leaders getresults! This month, try sharing instead of giving information, both at workand at home. Those extra few minutes of explanation and getting buy-in can makeall the difference