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Build or Break?: Two Types of Leaders

At QueenSuite Coaching, I define leadership as the ability to inspire and motivate others, as well as yourself, to take life-changing action to create extraordinary results that last.

According to this definition, each and every one of us is a leader. How well you lead depends on your level of consciousness, power or energy. Notice that the word power may have even evoked a strong negative response from you. Power is often perceived as a force that is inflicted to coerce or control. But power is energy. Relational power is generated from the type of leadership energy you exhibit. Think of it like this: if you turn a light on, power is being used more, and if you turn the light off, power is still being used even if a bit less. Now imagine walking across the dark room—power is still being utilized as your brain tries to remember where the obstacles are and get your safely to the door.

Higher levels of anabolic energy are associated with more effective leadership. Anabolic energy is building energy, and whether in the workplace or at home, great leaders build relationships, teams, families, and businesses. Catabolic energy, on the other hand, is destructive, and catabolic leaders destroy and break down everything around them.

Type 1

Let’s look first at the overall style of the catabolic leader. A catabolic leader manages. This type of leader is what people typically think of when we hear the word “boss”; there’s a negative connotation. The definition of “manage” is “to handle, direct, govern, or control in action or use,” and “to dominate or influence.” Catabolic leaders control others. They tell others what to do, and how to do it. The catabolic leader, in keeping control, keeps the other people in the relationship in a non-powerful position - and then most likely complains to everyone around that “I can’t seem to find good help,” and “no one does things as well as I do.”

Type 2

An anabolic leader, on the other hand, leads. The definition of lead means to go before or with to show the way and to guide in direction, course, and action. Sounds supportive and empowering, doesn’t it? The anabolic leader doesn’t control and doesn’t push people, but instead, inspires them by words, action, and by personal example.

Anabolic leaders realize that each of us is greater and wiser than we appear to be, and thus, don’t feel the need to tell people what to do, as they realize that everyone has their own answers and gifts.

In a previous post I broke down catabolic and anabolic responses when being faced with a task or something to do. When a catabolic leader tells or demands that someone do something, most likely, they will respond catabolically – “I won’t,” “I have to,” or “I need to.” When an anabolic leader requests that someone do something, or asks for someone’s input on a project, they’re much more likely to respond with the anabolic “I want to” or “I choose to.” The more anabolic the leader, the greater the probability of success in the task.

After reading this, what kind of leader is your boss? What kind of leader are you? What type of leader would you most like to be? What are some advantages and disadvantages of catabolic leadership? For the next few days, as you interact with those around you, think about how much more of an anabolic leader you could be if you led, instead of managed.


Ready to RESET (Review/Energize/Strategize/Empower/Take Action)? Get started today and find out the power in your leadership levels with an Energy Leadership Index assessment. It’s like a credit report for your attitudes about work and life.

If you want to take things slow, you can stay connected by email, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Or if you’re ready to jump right in and find your qi in QueenSuite, book a strategy session to get started!

My ideal clients meet the following criteria:

  1. My clients must be inspiring or have an inspiring mission.

  2. They must make, or be ready to make, a big impact.

  3. They must be fun.

  4. They must bring along a challenge.

  5. And they must understand the power of commitment.

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