Home » Catabolic

Tag: Catabolic

Is Your Team Made Up of Pawns or People?

If you want to be a great leader, remember to treat all people with respect at all times. For one, because you never know when you’ll need their help. And two, because it’s a sign you respect people, which all great leaders do. ~ Simon Sinek

Human Resources, or HR departments are in many companies worldwide. We’ve all interacted with them at some point in our career. But have you ever stopped to thoughtfully consider what the term really means?

William R. Tracey, in The Human Resources Glossary, defines Human Resources as: “The people and staff that operate an organization.”

Businessdictionary.com states that it is 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…”

For the past several weeks, we’ve been looking at the differences between catabolic and anabolic leaders.  This week we’ll discuss a key distinction in how the two types of leaders treat and think about their human resources – the people that work for and with them.

Catabolic leaders take advantage of the people around them. A catabolic leader looks at the people around him and only considers what the others can do for him and for the organization.  Employees are like pawns in a game 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 believes that when employees work for him, he owns them and all of their accomplishments.  Likely to be bossy and condescending, the catabolic leader puts himself first, always having to be right and feel superior.  And so, it shouldn’t be surprising that most catabolic leaders are met with exactly what they expect: employees that present problems.

Anabolic leaders, on the other hand, utilize instead of use the people around them. An anabolic leader, having the belief that all employees have something to offer, looks for ways to incorporate staff talents and company needs.  This leader sees employees as gifted and full of potential. Anabolic leaders help team members find their gifts, and utilize those gifts to best serve the organization, as well as the team members themselves.  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 received.

Anabolic leaders coach their team members, using important skills such as listening, acknowledging, validating, championing, and visioning to create relationships and make each of their team members a leader in his or her own right. And so, accordingly, anabolic leaders find solutions in those people around them.

The Human Resource Department in an organization is often the place that seems to deal with all the “problems” that arise.  If leaders saw the people in their companies truly as their “greatest resources,” what a different place and focus that department might have.

Think about how you and your organization treat your human resources. Are they problems needing help and solutions, or true resources to be nurtured, motivated, and empowered?

For more information on leadership, call us at 682.200.1412 or Info@ApexLeadershipCoaching.com.

As a Leader, Do You See Problems or Opportunities?


A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. ~ Winston Churchill



A company once sent two shoe salespeople to an area in Africa where they had never sold any shoes.  One was of their senior, most experienced salesmen, Tom, and they expected big things of him. The other was an optimistic rookie named Cynthia. She didn’t have much experience, but she had a lot of enthusiasm.  They figured she might be able to sell a few pair of shoes.

Shortly after their arrival in Africa, Tom, the experienced salesperson wrote the home office saying, “You might as well bring me back. Nobody here wears shoes.” The rookie, Cynthia, wired the home office an urgent message: “Send me all the shoes you’ve got.  Nobody here is wearing shoes!”

You may have heard this “joke” before – but it illustrates a key difference between anabolic and catabolic leaders. Two people, faced with the same situation, yet having totally different reactions. What’s the difference between them? In a word, it’s energy – Tom is catabolic and Cynthia is anabolic. Catabolic people see problems and challenges everywhere, and in everything. Anabolic people see opportunity and possibility. And not only do they see opportunity, but they take action to capitalize on it.

Most of the time, people focus on what’s wrong – in their lives, their businesses, the world. They complain, moan, and don’t take a lot of action – and why would they, because they just know that there are more problems and challenges ahead. This is catabolic, destructive energy – and it surrounds us every day.

People with anabolic energy find opportunity in everything. They don’t see the bad and make it a good; they truly only see opportunity in all that happens. They look at a situation and ask “what’s working here?” “What’s right?” “What’s next?” They don’t see problems or challenges, just exciting adventures and chances to make things work better.

So while a catabolic person might get upset and angry if one of his customers took his business to a competitor, an anabolic person would look at that situation as a chance not only to get the customer back, but to also change and improve the circumstances that led to the customer leaving in the first place.

As you go through your day, look at your responses to what’s happening around you. Remember that your perceptions create your energy level, and that creates your reality – the world you know. And most importantly, remember that you can learn to choose your response and begin to shift from catabolic to anabolic energy (if you’re not already there!)  Ask those solution-focused questions of “what’s right?” and “what’s next?”  After all, it’s your world, and you can create it as you wish.

For more information on leadership, call us at 682.200.1412 or Info@ApexLeadershipCoaching.com.

Are You a Holographic Thinker as a Leader?

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?


For more information on leadership, call us at 682.200.1412 or Info@ApexLeadershipCoaching.com.

How Emotionally Intelligent are You as a Leader?


If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. ~ Daniel Goleman


Emotions don’t belong in the workplace – or do they? It depends on who you ask! If you ask catabolic leaders, they’re likely to agree. And anabolic leaders have a different point of view – they understand that emotions can’t be left at the office door. Our comparison between anabolic and catabolic leaders continues with an exploration of how aware they are of their own and others’ emotions, how they express their emotions, and how they manage or control them in the work environment.

Awareness, expression, and management of emotion are the three main aspects of emotional intelligence. In the Energy Leadership Development System™, emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to distinguish, understand, and have an awareness of how thoughts and feelings connect with outward displays and behaviors, as well as the ability to manage and express appropriate emotions and help others do the same.

Let’s look at each of these three components of EI and see how they are different in catabolic and anabolic leaders.


Catabolic – Not only are these leaders unaware of their own emotions, but they are unaware of other people’s emotions as well. They’re also unaware of the effect they have on others.

Anabolic – These leaders are not only aware of their and other’s emotions, but they’re able to step back and recognize that their emotions are not automatic (emotions arise from interpretations). They also look for clues in their emotions, asking questions such as “Why did I have this response, and what can I learn from this?”


Catabolic – Many catabolic leaders have a limiting belief that expressing emotions should not be done in the workplace. They don’t want people to see their emotions, and don’t want to deal with the emotions of others. When they do express emotions, they often express them inappropriately, for example, by yelling or rolling their eyes.

Anabolic – Anabolic leaders understand that emotions are a part of each of us, and that they can’t be “turned off” at will. They know how to appropriately express their emotions, at the appropriate time. By sharing, acknowledging, and validating, they create an environment in which their co-workers and staff feel valued and understood.


Catabolic – Catabolic leaders can’t manage their own emotions, and therefore, the people around them don’t look to them in times of crisis for guidance and support. They tend to be frustrated, angry, and resentful, and this is apparent to everyone.

Anabolic – Anabolic leaders have the ability to manage their own moods and to help other people shift to more positive moods. They also are able to control their own emotions, even during stressful situations. They respond, instead of react, and their generally calm attitude promotes a positive work environment.

Emotional intelligence is directly related to interpersonal effectiveness. The higher your emotional intelligence, the more effective leader and communicator you will be. For a further discussion of how the two are related, see the report on EI=IE, available at www.iPECcoaching.com/energyleadershipbonuses. In addition, the Energy Leadership Development System contains an entire section on Emotional Intelligence, and gives useful and easily implemented strategies for increasing EI.

How are you showing your emotional intelligence as a leader?

For more information on the Energy Leadership Development System, call us at 682.200.1412 or Info@ApexLeadershipCoaching.com.

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.


For more information on leadership, call us at 682.200.1412 or Info@ApexLeadershipCoaching.com.