Catabolic vs. Anabolic Leaders – Part 4
This month, part 4 of the discussion ofthe characteristics of anabolic and catabolic leaders focuses on how (and if)leaders assess themselves, and examine how their actions and attitudes affecttheir results, as well as impact the people around them.
Catabolic leaders operate in their ownlittle worlds. They do what they do, and they rarely, if ever, stop to thinkabout the consequences of what they are doing (and how they are doing it). Ifcatabolic leaders do assess, they self-assess – that is, they don’t ask forinput from people around them, because they fear that in doing so they mayappear weak. In addition, catabolic leaders know that they are right, andothers are wrong (or incompetent, or lazy) – so why would they ask for others’feedback?
Anabolic leaders on the other hand, arealways working “on themselves.” Not only are they willing to take hard looks atthemselves, but they also solicit, and consider, feedback from others, as theyknow this information is crucial if they are to continue to grow and develop.
Let’s consider Catabolic Curt andAnabolic Amy, two leaders in the same company. Both manage several teammembers, and both recently had to deal with customer complaints they’dreceived. Curt was, well, quite curt as he told his team exactly what to do tocorrect the problem, and later, when his proposed solution didn’t work, heblamed his team members for not implementing the plan properly.
Amy, not surprisingly, handled thesituation differently. She and her team brainstormed a solution to thecustomer’s complaint, and together decided what course to take. When theirchosen plan didn’t work out, instead of blaming her team, Amy sat down withthem again to devise another solution. One of the questions she asked her teamwas how she could have handled the situation better, or supported them more.Amy learned some valuable information from their responses, and modified herbehavior accordingly. Not only did Amydemonstrate that she was willing to learn and grow, but she also let her teamknow that it was safe to honestly give her feedback and trust her.
Anabolic leaders, by solicitingfeedback and leaving their egos “at the door,” grow, and by example, allowtheir colleagues and companies to grow and prosper as well.