In our ongoing examination of the 7 Levels of leadership, we have so far explored the differences between leaders that participate versus those that delegate, and the importance of how information is relayed.
This week, we again compare the differences between conscientious (anabolic) and undisciplined (catabolic) leaders with a focus on how (and if) leaders assess themselves, and how their actions and attitudes affect their results, as well as impact the people around them.
Catabolic leaders operate in their own little worlds. They do what they do, and they rarely, if ever, stop to think about the consequences of what they are doing (and how they are doing it). If these leaders do assess, they self-assess – that is, they don’t ask for input from anyone around them, because they dread that in doing so they may appear weak. In addition, adverse leaders know that they are right, and others are mistaken (or ineffectual, or idle) – so why would they ask for their feedback?
Anabolic leaders on the other hand, are always working “on themselves.” Not only are they willing to take a concrete look at themselves, but they also solicit, and consider, feedback from others, as they know this information is imperative if they are to continue to grow and mature.
Let’s consider Heather and Barbara, two leaders in the same company. Both manage several team members, and both have recently had to deal with customer complaints. Heather’s approach is quite harsh. She tells her team exactly what to do to correct the problem, belittles team members on group calls, and creates division between onshore and offshore workers. Later, when her proposed solution fails to work, she blames her team for making her look bad by determining they did not implement her plan properly. How would you describe Heather’s negative energy impact on the team and work environment?
Barbara, not surprisingly, handles the situation differently. She and her team brainstorm a solution to the customer’s complaint, and together decided what course to take. When the team’s chosen plan does not work out, instead of blaming her group, Barbara sits down with them again to devise another solution. One of the questions she asks is how she could have handled the situation better, or offered more support. Barbara gains some valuable information from their responses, and modifies her behavior accordingly. Not only does Barbara demonstrate that she is willing to gather understanding and knowledge, she also reaffirms to her team that it is safe to trust her and honestly provide feedback. With this approach, what type of anabolic environment can Barbara and her team create together? What are some opportunities now available for the team to display trust and accountability to Barbara?
There are pros and cons to 360 feedbacks. Sadly, some managers and executives, like Heather, take a self-destructive approach that ends up sabotaging their careers and reputations as their catabolic energy trickles throughout the organization, if not self-regulated.
Conscious leaders, however, understand that it is better have an objective assessment of current leadership abilities than end up blind-sided at performance reviews or at an exit interview. By welcoming and soliciting feedback they have learned to leave their egos “at the door,” grow, and by example, allow their colleagues, stakeholders and companies to progress and prosper as well.
So the next time you are faced with the question or challenge of how you are doing, try asking yourself first just who are you asking - yourself or your team? The answer matters just as much as the source.
Debrah Mathis, ELI-MP, managing principal of E2S Solutions Professional Coaching LLC provides leaders and organizations transformational solutions using Energy Leadership™, an exclusive coaching approach that is cutting-edge, and perhaps one of the most significant developments in transformational leadership potential, emotional intelligence and self-mastery available with sustainable results. Visit www.EngagetoSuccess.com to view case studies and learn more why your E-Factor matters.