Participate as You Delegate to Inspire Your Team
In the last blog post we began a discussion of the characteristics of anabolic and catabolic leaders, and how the anabolic leader “leads,” while the catabolic leader “manages.” Another distinction between catabolic and anabolic leaders is that catabolic leaders “delegate,” while anabolic leaders participate.
Delegation vs. Participation
“Delegate”, by definition in Webster’s dictionary, is to entrust to the care or management of another; to transfer; to assign; to commit, and “participate” is defined as to partake of; to share in; to receive a part of.
Most of us have been trained, or are aware, that delegating is something that effective leaders must do to get things done. It is true, in fact – and anabolic leaders take it a step further. When a catabolic leader delegates a task to someone else, the leader, in effect, wipes his or her hands of the task. When an anabolic leader participates in the task with another person, the other person knows that they are supported and valued while they are doing the work. Participating certainly doesn’t mean that the leader needs to do all, most, or even any of the work – it implies being available to other people without hesitation. It means that employees know that the leader is willing to personally do anything that he or she asks them to do.
Participate With Your Team
Let’s take a look at an example of this. Imagine the following scenario. A small business owner is taking on new software to manage the daily operations of the business. The owner of the company assigns implementation and training to the key staff. In Catabolic Company A, the owner gets occasional progress reports, but remains out of the picture until everything is done, at which point the staff is either praised or reprimanded based on what they’ve accomplished and the ease with which the company can then utilize the software. In Anabolic Company B, the owner follows up regularly with the staff, and is also on hand to help out and work alongside them, letting everyone know that he is part of the team, and that he is willing to do whatever he asks them to do. The staff knows where they are at all stages of the project, because the leader has been “in the trenches” with them. In which company are the workers more likely to be engaged and want to do a good job? Which leader is more likely to command respect and loyalty, and inspire greatness in others?
Leading from behind closed doors is not as effective as leading by example. This month, how can you show those around you that you are a participant, not merely a delegator?