Businesses today understand that their company’s overall reputation and business results, whether positive or negative are reflective of the engagement of their employees in the work for which they are hired. A business can only drive positive business results when a sound business strategy, business structures, processes and the right people are in place! Without people the strategy can’t be developed, nor can processes be executed. So when people aren’t fully engaged in the work to write your company’s success story we typically blame the employee.
Dis-engaged employees generally make up 5 percent of a company’s workforce. This may not seem like a lot, however depending on the size of your company, it could be. We already know what actively dis-engaged employees can do to an organization’s bottom line; destroying the very fabric and reputation of a company if not addressed immediately. However, let’s take a look at the leadership of organizations for a moment; because 90 percent of the response to employees whether positive or negative comes from them; and this is telling of whether or not the style of leadership is effective at driving positive business results.
Catabolic vs Anabolic Leadership
There are two types of leaders, catabolic and anabolic. I know, it sounds scientific, however in order to truly understand leadership and what drives employee engagement or lack thereof, we have to understand leadership types and whether or not, we see ourselves, or others in them. The key is how the two types of leaders operate, treat and think about employees.
The first type of leader is the catabolic leader. Unfortunately, this type of leader makes up 35 percent of those heading organizations and their departments. Catabolic leaders take advantage of the people around them; looking at the people around them and considering only what they can do for them and for the organization. Employees are like pawns in a game of chess that the catabolic leader controls, and neither their feelings nor needs are considered. The catabolic leader rarely, if ever, gives credit to anyone else, since he/she believes that when employees work for him/her, the leader owns them and all of their accomplishments. Leaders like this are usually very bossy, opinionated and condescending. The catabolic leader puts themselves first, always having to be right so that they feel superior to others. This is why some employees may not progress in their careers, stagnate, check out and eventually leave. So how does this leadership type play out in the work environment?
Energetically, this type of leader usually plays the role of a victim; generally focused on “self” while also engaging in “win/lose” type situations that fosters their resentment of others for which they engage in behaviors that often lead to a hostile working environment because they have become defiant and conflictual with others including their peers and direct reporting staff. And so, it shouldn’t be surprising that most catabolic leaders are met with exactly what they are; employees that present problems and actively dis-engage.
Anabolic leaders, on the other hand, “utilize” instead of “use” the people around them. In other words, the anabolic leader has the belief that all employees have something to offer, look for ways to incorporate staff talents and meet company needs. This leadership type sees employees as gifted and full of potential, helping employees to find their gifts, and utilize those gifts to serve the organization, as well as the team. They recognize the knowledge and skills of those around them, and they act in ways that make others truly feel like “partners”. Greatness is expected, and thus achieved.
Anabolic leaders coach their team members, using important skills such as active-listening, acknowledging, validating, championing, and visioning to create relationships and make each of their team members a leader in his or her own right. So how does this type of leadership play out in the work environment?
The anabolic leader is all about taking personal responsibility for when things go wrong as well as when they go right. They are concerned about all of the people around them and show great compassion which allows them to reconcile issues more readily, create synthesis and approach situations without judgement! And so, anabolic leaders find solutions in those people around them. They connect and inspire people to go beyond where they are and are themselves persistent and determined to lead by example. Anabolic leaders don’t rely on ability alone to make the best choices in the moment and as they go about their day. They put a system in place that doesn’t leave something of importance to chance and allow people the room to chart the course of success. In other words, they foster employee engagement!
The style of leadership and one’s ability to lead effectively are directly tied to the level in which employees engage. If your company is not achieving the level of success that you envisioned, perhaps assessing the leadership style of the leaders that run your organization is the next step to resolving the not so apparent issues within your organization!