In the past eight Energy Leadership blog posts, we’ve explored some of the key differences between catabolic and anabolic leaders. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how the two types of leaders treat and think about their human resources—the people who work with them and those who report to them.
We hear the term Human Resources a lot and HR departments are found at companies large and small. But have you ever stopped to consider what the term really means?
William R. Tracey, in The Human Resources Glossary, defines Human Resources as “The people that staff and operate an organization.” Businessdictionary.com considers it “the scarcest and most crucial productive resource that creates the largest and longest lasting advantage for an organization. It resides in the knowledge, skills and motivation of people.”
Catabolic leaders take advantage of the people around them. Catabolic leaders are only interested in what they and their organizations can get from others. People are treated like pawns in a game that the catabolic leader controls; no consideration is given to others’ feelings and needs.
Catabolic leaders rarely, if ever, share credit with staff or colleagues. If you report to catabolic leaders, they probably feel they own you and your accomplishments. And, if you’re a colleague, you’re treated as competition in a scarcity-based dog-eat-dog world where collaboration is only considered a weakness. Though catabolic leaders often come across as bossy and condescending, this pose masks a deep sense of low self-esteem and insecurity that they bolster through a false sense of superiority.
Remembering from quantum physics that energy attracts like energy, it’s no wonder that catabolic leaders encounter what they expect: employees that present problems.
Anabolic leaders, on the other hand, respectfully harness the creative and productive potential of those around them. Having the belief that we all have something to offer, anabolic leaders look for ways to integrate staff talents with company needs. These leaders see their staff and colleagues as gifted and filled with possibilities. Anabolic leaders help team members find their unique blend of gifts and utilize those gifts to serve the organization and the individuals sharing their gifts. Such leaders recognize the competencies of those around them, and they act in ways that make others truly feel like partners, whatever their titles or organizational levels. Because greatness is expected, greatness is expressed.
Anabolic leaders coach their team members, using important skills such as listening, acknowledging, validating, championing and envisioning to create constructive relationships and establish all individuals in the organization as leaders in their own right. Instead of finding people to be problems, anabolic leaders find people to be a limitless source of potential and opportunities.
In too many organizations, the focus of the HR Department is still dealing with “problem people.” If leaders saw the people in their companies as genuine resources—a veritable goldmine of opportunities—rather than the source of problems, how much greater the contribution of the HR department itself might be to the success and growth of those organizations.
How do you and your organization treat your human resources? Are your people “problems” needing to be fixed (and failing that, eliminated) or do you nurture, inspire and empower your most precious and valuable asset?
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