For as long as I can remember, people have asked the question "Are you a leader or a follower?" There was an attempt to categorize or label people based on their ability to lead other people. What if I were to tell you that everyone is a leader, either by choice or default? Would it change your perception of who you are, or would you continue to think of yourself as a follower because that is what you've believed all your life?
If you are a parent, then you are definitely a leader. You are a leader of a very important organization - your family. Leadership is what helps us move people into action, including ourselves. So the question is not whether or not you are a leader because you are. The question we have to answer for ourselves is how well do we lead? How effective are you in motivating and inspiring yourself and other people in your life?
According to Bruce Schneider at iPEC Coaching, "our leadership ability determines whether or not our children do their homework, and how well they do it; how well we negotiate the purchase of a new car or home; how we communicate with anyone we do business with; how we develop mutually supportive and sustaining relationships, and most importantly, how much energy we can muster to motivate ourselves to take action - sometimes life-altering action - to live our most powerful, productive, and purposeful lives."
Our bodies are made of energy. Every cell, muscle, organ and bodily system contains energy. And there are two types of energy - catabolic and anabolic. In a nutshell, catabolic energy is destructive energy that attacks the body and anabolic energy is energy that heals the body. Every thought, emotion and behavior has an energetic value. If a person experiences a lot of catabolic thoughts, emotions and behaviors, this energy will drag them down, interfere with their ability to take positive action, and may eventually manifest itself in disease. On the other hand, anabolic thoughts, emotions and behaviors have a healing effect on our bodies and on our lives, especially on our ability to effectively lead.
If you were to choose, would you choose your energetic makeup to be catabolic or anabolic? Most people don't bat an eye when they answer "anabolic." Who wouldn't want to be healthier, experience less stress, more energy and joy in their lives? Yet, most of us experience catabolic energy in our lives. We feel frustrated and overwhelmed when our best intentions don't go as planned. We feel guilty because we're torn between who we think we should be and who we are. Many of us battle with internal conflict, and sometimes even conflict within our relationships. We're not happy with the amount of money we have; we feel imprisoned by our time constraints. Some of us may even experience stress related physical problems such as headaches, stomach problems, anxiety and depression. This is the effect of catabolic energy in our lives.
Our energetic makeup is the combination of catabolic and anabolic energy from which we are operating in our lives, and our energetic makeup determines how well we will lead, how we interact with other people and life, and largely influences our relationship with ourselves. Most people with a lot of catabolic energy find it difficult to be successful without the negative effects of stress, strained relationships and physical illness. People with a lot of anabolic energy achieve success and happiness almost effortlessly. By removing catabolic energy and increasing our anabolic energy, we will be more effective leaders.
Evaluating Leadership Characteristics
Effective leaders experience a high degree of success in each of the eight leadership categories. Take a few moments to assess your strengths and areas of opportunity in each of these areas...