Anabolic Leaders Produce More Positive Outcomes
Marty McCarthy, CPA, CCIFP
Focused on You. Dedicated to Your Success.
June 4, 2018

In his book, “Energy Leadership: Transforming Your Workplace and Your Life from the Core” Bruce D. Schneider, founder of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), defines two types of energy: anabolic and catabolic. Anabolic energy is constructive, rejuvenating, and sustainable, while catabolic energy is destructive and draining. Catabolic energy causes stress, burn-out, anger, and fear. People in a catabolic state complain, worry, and are full of self-doubt. They are emotionally attached to misfortune and are stuck in a problem instead of a solution mindset. Anabolic people are passionate, creative, and focused on working together to find opportunity in a challenge.

Business and psychological researchers have found a direct correlation between an employee’s workplace engagement and a company’s overall performance. Organizations with fully engaged employees are more likely to experience positive business performance than those whose employees are not engaged. Profitability, productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction are all affected by an employee’s level of engagement.
Anabolic energy creates an environment where employees are engaged and work in collaboration with one another. In an anabolic culture, challenges are not considered a negative. Instead, challenges are viewed as opportunities. Having an anabolic culture is a competitive advantage for a company. New ideas are constantly being generated to improve customer service, attract new customers, and retain employees.

A study conducted by Karen Buck, M.S., and Diana Galer, Ph.D., CPC, ACC, entitled “Key Factors Revealed for Determining Success in Work and Life,” showed that shifting from a catabolic to an anabolic mindset can increase an employee’s engagement at work by 51%. The study also determined that an employee’s satisfaction with his or her level of work/life balance increased by 70% and working relationships by 44%.

Furthermore, the study determined that “highly anabolic” individuals, compared to “highly catabolic” individuals showed the following differential in their level of satisfaction in several areas:

  • Communication skills (230% higher)
  • Health and wellness (240% higher)
  • Work/life balance (290% higher) 
  • Working relationships (320% higher)
  • Engagement at work (340% higher)
  • Productivity (420% higher)
  • Time management (520% higher)
  • Leadership ability (680% higher)
  • Energy (2,040%higher)

The anabolic leader demonstrates his or her ability to engage employees on an individual, social, and organizational level. The way that a leader interacts with his or her team has a tremendous effect on building anabolic energy and engagement. Business owners who participate in meetings, respond to situations, and socialize with employees with anabolic energy will establish a highly functional business culture. It is important for leadership to acknowledge that these interactions must be authentic. If you say one thing and do another, you will lose the respect and trust of your team.

The key is for leaders to channel the energy of their team to an anabolic level so that each member is using his or her strengths for the benefit of the company and its customers. Leaders that can shift their team’s energy to function at a higher level will have more opportunities, successful results, and a positive effect on the company.
Martin C. McCarthy, CPA, CCIFP
Managing Partner
McCarthy & Company, PC

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