In the previous Energy Leadership™ blog post, we began a nine-part exploration of the characteristics of anabolic and catabolic leaders. The first distinction was that catabolic leaders MANAGE while anabolic leaders LEAD.
In this post we explore the second difference: catabolic leaders DELEGATE while anabolic leaders PARTICIPATE.
According to Webster’s dictionary, “delegate” means to entrust to the care or management of another; to transfer; to assign; to commit. In contrast, “participate” means to partake of; to share in; to receive a part of.
Most of us have been taught that as effective leaders we need to delegate to get things done. While that’s true, anabolic leaders take it a step further.
When a catabolic leader delegates a task, the leader becomes completely detached and hands off, in effect, abandoning the task and the team. When an anabolic leader participates in a task, the team members know they are supported and valued while doing the work. Participating isn’t hovering or micromanaging. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the leader needs to do any of the work. It means remaining available and engaged in the team’s successful outcome. It means your team members know you are eager and able to support them in accomplishing their objective.
Imagine the following scenario. A small business owner is expanding from two retail locations to three. The owner of the company assigns tasks to key staff. In Catabolic Company A, the owner gets occasional arm’s length progress reports, but remains out of the picture until the project is complete, at which point the team members are praised or chastised based on what they’ve accomplished.
In Anabolic Company B, the owner not only follows up frequently with the staff, but is also on hand to pitch in and work alongside them if needed, letting the members know that leader is a full member of the team willing to do whatever’s needed to support the team’s success. The staff members know whether they are on track throughout the stages of the project, because the leader has been checking in with them regularly along the way.
In which company are the workers more likely to be creative, confident and fully engaged in achieving excellence? And which leader is more likely to earn respect, receive loyalty and inspire greatness in others?
Managing from a pedestal is not as effective as leading by example. How can you better demonstrate that you are a fully participating team member, not merely a distant delegator?
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