In the past, we have explored the characteristics of anabolic and catabolic leaders. Click on the following link if you’d like to review that blog. Leadership: Inspiring and Motivating Yourself and Others This time, let’s look at another aspect of leadership – how information is passed along to others – to further see the difference between the two types of leaders.
In any type of leadership role – whether as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a small business owner, or as a parent, imparting information to others is an integral and essential part of leading. Catabolic leaders give information, while anabolic leaders share information.
Giving vs Sharing
“Giving” means to convey, transmit, or assign. When we give to others, we no longer have ownership of what we give. “Sharing,” on the other hand, means to partake of, use, or experience with others. When we share, we’re still part of the process – we’re “in it” with the other person.
When a catabolic leader gives information to others, they do so without much explanation, and with little buy-in or justification. An anabolic leader who shares information, however, explains well and gets buy-in, which builds trust, develops rapport, and deepens the connection with the other person.
Here’s an Example
Which of the following leaders is more likely to get the result they desire?
Catabolic leader – “John, I need a rundown of the responsibilities of the people in your department. Please get it to me by tomorrow afternoon, if not sooner.”
Anabolic leader – “John, we’re considering bringing in some additional staff members to ease some of the production crunch you and your department are under. I’d like a rundown of the responsibilities of the people in your department so that I can see who’s doing what and where some gaps might be. Since I’d like to get this process underway soon, how possible would it be to get this to me by tomorrow afternoon or earlier? After I take a look at it, I’d love to sit down with you to hear your ideas for resolving this. How does that sound?”
The two leaders asked for the same information – but how differently they asked, and how different the result is likely to be! John’s response to the catabolic leader would probably be to question what was going on and to worry about his department and the people under him, and to either put off doing the task or do it in a perfunctory way. His response to the anabolic leader, on the other hand, would most likely be to jump right into the task, do it well, and generate ideas for improvement.
My Challenge to You
Anabolic leaders get results! Over the next month, try sharing instead of giving information, both at work and at home. Those extra few minutes of explanation and getting buy-in can make all the difference.
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