Are You a Pyromaniac or a Planner?

The comparison between anabolic and catabolic leaders continues with a look at how each approaches everyday circumstances.

Much of the time, catabolic leaders operate in crisis mode—juggling multiple catastrophes and putting out fires because they wait until situations have veered way off track before addressing them. This reactivity leads to stress, lack of focus and a non-productive, frenzied atmosphere for themselves and everyone around them. They don’t think much about where they’re headed and, even if they do, the “big picture” gets lost in the demands of the moment.

Fighting Fires

In contrast, anabolic leaders look ahead and make a plan. They know what they want to achieve and have a plan for getting there. Not only do they have a plan that they share with others and participate in fully themselves, they hold the other contributors accountable for doing what they said they will do when they say they will do it.

Let’s take a closer look at these two additional components of anabolic leadership—having a plan and holding everyone involved in executing it accountable—beginning with you.

It’s often said that if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. The first step in having a plan is creating the vision of where you want to go. That vision is the ideal but it’s vitally important to realize that getting from where you are to where you want to go may not be possible overnight. To get there, you need a roadmap or plan of action that consists of myriad baby steps.

Once the plan is agreed upon, the crucial aspect of accountability comes into play. Accountability involves helping team members understand and honor the commitments they make. An anabolic leader creates a system of checking in with the people who are implementing a plan to make sure that they’re taking action and that the plan is leading in the expected direction.

If they are not taking the agreed upon action, an anabolic leader doesn’t blame, but instead works on helping the team members overcome any blocks. And, if it turns out the plan needs adjusting because it won’t lead to the desired destination, an anabolic leader embraces the change as an opportunity to learn, grow and succeed.

The skills of creating attainable action plans and holding people accountable for carrying them out aren’t only useful in a business environment. Imagine working with your children to create a plan on how to tackle heavy school workloads. Then following up to make sure they’ve taken the actions they agreed to, in contrast to yelling at them to study the night before final exams. Or collaborating with a team to prepare for and execute the many interdependent tasks of an annual church auction.

Learning and practicing the skills of planning and accountability will strengthen your anabolic leadership traits in ways that will delight you and those around you.

To learn how to enhance your planning and accountability skills, sign up below for a 60-minute complimentary coaching session.

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About djwlifecoach

As a retired board-certified coach, author and Reiki master teacher, I continue to share hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. What's love got to do with minimizing stress and getting unstuck? Everything! My book, "Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!" (Hay House/Balboa Press 2013) shares my story and the stories of 10 of my clients along with my signature Discovery Framework. During my 30 years as an organization transformation consultant, I served as a senior partner in four of the world's largest, most prestigious global professional services firms. In 2005, I took a five-year sabbatical to find healing and peace because non-stop work had taken its toll. My recovery from burnout, including a sustained 80-pound weight loss and freedom from 10 years of debilitating depression, led to finding my purpose sharing hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. Through healing and self-exploration, I discovered that loving yourself unconditionally is the key to transforming your personal life, your work and the world. With attention and intention, I learned to live in alignment with love through a wealth of energy-shifting tools and techniques that help me reduce stress, anxiety and overwhelm by releasing limiting beliefs, emotions and habits. My books, blog and radio episodes help individuals and organizations harness the transformative energy of love to turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities and step into their greatness. Learn more and access FREE resources at For fun, I love singing, reading, sewing, knitting, golfing and movies. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia with my husband, Wilson, and the coaching cats who manage my life—SiddhaLee and Maisy Jane.
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1 Response to Are You a Pyromaniac or a Planner?

  1. Sam Red says:

    Hi Deborah, very interesting reading 🙂 I’ve worked for what you designate as a catabolic leader a number of times. It tends to be a pretty stressful and disempowering experience. As a consequence, I’ve been freelance for the majority of my life – to avoid having to submit myself to the office dynamics when there’s this kind of catabolic leader in charge. I wonder how many anabolic leaders there are out there in the professional spheres! Would be nice to see more of them, I feel! Love & blessings, Sam 🙂

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