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Do You Plan Ahead & Hold People Accountable as a Leader?



To me, a leader is someone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes. And so what I think is really important is sustainability. ~ Brene’ Brown


Let’s continue the comparison between anabolic and catabolic leaders with a look at how each type of leader approaches their everyday circumstances.

Catabolic leaders work in crisis mode. They put out fires, and deal with issues as they arise.  This reactivity leads to stress, lack of focus, and a non-productive, frenzied type of atmosphere. 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.

Anabolic leaders, on the other hand, plan ahead. They know exactly what they want to achieve, and have a plan to get there. Not only do they have a plan (and, as discussed in previous months, share it with others, while participating in the team effort themselves), but they hold the others involved in the plan accountable for doing what they said they will do.

Let’s take a closer look at those two components of anabolic leadership – having a plan, and holding the people involved in executing it accountable.

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, a plan of action.

Once the plan is decided upon, the crucial aspect of accountability comes into play. Accountability involves helping people keep 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, if they are not taking the agreed upon action for some reason, an anabolic leader doesn’t blame, but instead works on helping the person get through whatever blocks that need to be broken through.

The skills of creating attainable action plans and holding people accountable for carrying them out aren’t only useful in a business environment, but in the home as well. Imagine working with your child to create a plan on how to tackle a heavy school workload, and following up to make sure they take the actions they agreed to, in contrast to yelling at them to study the night before final exams.

Learning and practicing these two skills can transform you into the anabolic leader that you would like to be.


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