Are you an enabler?

Photo of sticky notes with the words enable, engage, empower, enhanceHow good are you at enabling your team, colleagues, and, yes, even your boss, to do what they need to do?

Because it’s not enough to just delegate work to your team. Nor is it enough to just accept tasks from your boss.

You need to be an enabler.

Enabling your team

When you delegate work to the individuals on your team, you need to be clear about more than just their available time. If you want to enable them to do their best, you need to understand their level of knowledge, skills, and interest.

Since at least some of the tasks you delegate will require them to learn and grow, you also need to be clear about what support they need to be successful.

(Read this post on the dangers of delegation. Opens in a new window so you won’t lose your place here!)

When you know these things about each member of your team and act accordingly, you’ll enable them to do their best work.

Enabling your colleagues

I hope you don’t have to struggle with issues of territorialism, where peers and colleagues across teams or departments resist sharing knowledge, resources, and ideas.

But if you’re in an organization where this happens, then you know your colleagues aren’t always going to enable you to do your best work.

Don’t be like that. When someone needs information, pass it on. If a colleague needs extra resources and you have availability, be generous. If you have constructive ideas, share them.

(Do be careful on that last point. You don’t want to come across as critical or interfering!)

When you can share ideas, information, and resources, you’ll enable your colleagues to do their best work.

Enabling your boss

Making your boss look good is a wise career move.

This doesn’t mean allowing them to take credit for your ideas or your work. What it does mean is being aware of their priorities. What are they working on that you might not be directly involved in, but where you have ideas, skills, or knowledge they may not know about? How can you make sure you and your team are doing the right things to directly support their goals?

When you understand strategic direction and can be proactive in taking action to implement that strategy, you’ll enable your boss to do their best work.

Enabling the company – and yourself

When you enable your team’s, colleagues’, and boss’s success, you enable the company’s journey toward its goals.

You also improve your chances of recognition and promotion … which, obviously, enables you to succeed!

And be careful

Enabling others’ success isn’t the same as being a doormat or a workaholic. It’s not being indiscriminately helpful to everyone in the company. It’s not neglecting your work in order to support the rest of the world. And you never want to step on anyone’s toes, offering unwanted advice or pushing support on someone who doesn’t want or need it.

But the more you can enable others to do their work, whilst simultaneously doing your own as excellently as possible, the more you’ll learn, grow, and be recognized as a leader.