I use not only all the brains I have, but all I can borrow. ~ President Woodrow Wilson
This week, let’s explore a very interesting distinction between anabolic and catabolic leaders – how each type of leader thinks. This is perhaps one of the most complicated, and essential, aspects of understanding the difference between these two types of leaders.
Catabolic leaders use left brain analysis almost exclusively. This type of thinking is linear, and rational. It’s the logical approach, and considers only facts and actual observations. Anabolic leaders use whole brain thinking, which encompasses emotions and intuition, as well as logic. This type of thinking is called holographic thinking, because like multi-dimensional holograms, holographic thinking involves being able to see many perspectives at once.
By using their emotional and intuitive minds in addition to left brain logical analysis, anabolic leaders are able to view a situation as a whole and thus get a complete picture of what’s really going on. The ability to see this “meta-view” is key to ensuring the greatest chances for success (in every aspect of life), and especially for making, both on a daily and a long term basis, the very best decisions they can.
So how would this actually play out “in real life”? Say a manager was faced with a decision about whether or not to pull the plug on a project, launched several months before, which wasn’t bringing in the income expected. The catabolic manager would look only at the facts and figures, and, most likely, would decide to discontinue the project because the money wasn’t coming in. Anabolic managers would take much more into account in making a decision. Not only would money and logistics be examined, but also, they would look at their intuitive response (what flashes of insight they had) and also, consider their emotional response, and others’ emotional responses as well. The conclusion they come to might be the same – to pull the plug, or, based on a hunch or an emotion or both, they might decide to keep the project going.
The key is, using a holographic approach, anabolic leaders address opportunities—and challenges—from many perspectives at once. To practice thinking holographically:
- consider your potential action in light of what makes sense,
- what your emotional response to it is, and
- what your intuitive senses tell you.
This may not be natural at first, but eventually, it will become second nature and increase your effectiveness immensely.
How is your whole brain thinking today?
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