The two types of energy and their impact in the workplace

energy leadership leslie two types of energy
two types of energy

In today's fast-paced business world, understanding the dynamics of energy is crucial for personal and organizational success. There are two primary types of energy that play a significant role in the workplace: anabolic and catabolic energy. 


In this article, we'll explore these two contrasting forms of energy, providing insights and examples that can help you harness their potential for greater growth, impact and fulfillment.


Anabolic Energy: Building, Nurturing, and Thriving


Anabolic energy is the positive, constructive force that empowers us to create, collaborate, and excel. It's the energy of growth, expansion, and possibility. In the workplace, anabolic energy can be seen in various forms:


  • Team Synergy: When a team works together harmoniously, shares ideas, and supports each other's goals, they are radiating anabolic energy. This positive collaboration often leads to innovative solutions and high-performance outcomes.


  • Leadership Inspiration: Effective leaders possess anabolic energy, which inspires and motivates their team members. Their leadership style encourages personal and professional growth, creating an environment where individuals can thrive.


  • Conflict Resolution: Anabolic energy helps in resolving conflicts constructively. Instead of allowing disputes to drain productivity, individuals use this energy to find common ground, foster understanding, and create win-win solutions.


Catabolic Energy: Draining, Destructive, and Limiting


On the other hand, catabolic energy is the negative, draining force that can hinder progress and innovation. It often manifests in the workplace as:


  • Micromanagement: When leaders excessively control their team's every move, it stifles creativity and fosters a culture of distrust. This micromanagement is fueled by catabolic energy, restricting both personal and team growth.


  • Burnout: Prolonged stress, excessive workloads, and a lack of work-life balance can lead to burnout. Catabolic energy is at play, draining employees' enthusiasm and potentially causing a decline in productivity.


  • Toxic Dynamics: When coworkers engage in unhealthy competition, gossip, or sabotage, catabolic energy dominates the workplace. Such behaviors limit the team's potential and create a toxic work environment.


The Difference 


To illustrate the difference, let's consider a scenario where an employee's performance is on the decline, and we'll explore how both catabolic and anabolic leaders might respond.


Catabolic Leader Approach:


In a catabolic work context, a manager might react harshly to an employee's declining performance. The manager takes a critical stance, assigning blame, and demanding immediate improvement. This approach not only intensifies the employee's stress but can also lead to further performance decline. 


The conversation might sound like this:




"I've reviewed your recent project results, and they're not meeting our expectations. You need to step up your game if you want to succeed in this company."




"I'm doing my best here, but the workload has been overwhelming."




"Well, your best isn't good enough. You need to work harder and cut down on distractions."




"But I have a lot on my plate, and sometimes I need a short break."




"No excuses. I'm very disappointed in your performance. Improve or face the consequences."


Anabolic Leader Approach:


Conversely, in an anabolic workplace, a manager would approach the situation differently, focusing on understanding and support. The manager engages in a constructive conversation, expressing concern, and exploring ways to help the employee. The tone is empathetic and collaborative, promoting growth and development. Here's how the conversation might unfold:




"I've reviewed your recent project results, and I can see that there's room for improvement. Can you tell me what's been challenging for you?"




"I've been dealing with a heavy workload, and it's been hard to manage everything."




"I understand; you've been juggling a lot. How can we work together to help you meet your goals?"




"Maybe I could use some guidance on prioritizing my tasks and time management. Also, I could learn from colleagues who handle their workload effectively."




"That sounds like a proactive approach. I can connect you with colleagues who excel in time management, and we can discuss strategies to help you succeed. You're not alone in this; we're here to support you."


Harnessing Anabolic Energy


The scenario above illustrates how anabolic leadership promotes open communication, collaboration, and employee development, leading to a more positive and productive workplace. 


Anabolic leaders understand that embracing challenges with empathy and empowerment can bring out the best in their teams, fostering an environment of growth and success.


To create a workplace that thrives on anabolic energy, consider the following strategies:


  1. Foster Positive Leadership: Encourage leaders to adopt anabolic leadership styles that promote personal and team growth.


  1. Cultivate a Supportive Culture: Create an organizational culture that values collaboration, open communication, and mutual respect.


  1. Provide Opportunities for Expansion: Offer training and development programs to empower employees and help them expand their skill sets.


Transforming Catabolic Energy into Anabolic Energy


To transform catabolic energy into its positive counterpart, consider how you can create a more conducive environment that supports the overall wellbeing of your team and provides guidance and support on how they can cultivate:


  1. Self-awareness so that they can recognize when catabolic energy is at play and take steps to mitigate its effects.


  1. Emotional intelligence so that they’re better equipped to navigate conflict and foster healthier interactions.


  1. Energy Management so that they feel safe enough to prioritize work-life balance and take a proactive approach to stress.


In conclusion, understanding the interplay between anabolic and catabolic energy in the workplace is key to achieving personal and organizational success. By recognizing these energy dynamics, individuals and leaders can harness the power of anabolic energy to create thriving, innovative work environments and minimize the influence of catabolic energy. It's a journey towards building a brighter, more equitable and fulfilling future for all.


If you're interested in exploring how energy leadership can transform your organization, click here to reach out to the ArteFax Group today. We're dedicated to empowering you to unlock your full leadership potential, one positive energy shift at a time.

It’s time to unleash the untapped creative potential of your organization.

Are you ready to explore how we can help you create an agile, sustainable leadership environment that maintains cohesive performance under pressure and provides support that matters most for the people?