Enable Others to Act

In their classic book The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner describe “enabling others to act” as of the five practices of exemplary leadership.  This important leadership competency includes building relationships and a climate of trust, enhancing collaboration, using influence to facilitate positive engagement, and empowering and mentoring others to grow and take initiative.

Sometimes we get so focused on our own needs that we lose sight of what leadership is all about – supporting others to help achieve a greater purpose as a team.  We cannot do it all ourselves and, yet amid busy schedules and constant deadlines, it is easy to get stuck in our own bubble without devoting the time necessary to empower others.  Enabling others to act has multiple components, including:

  • effective delegation

  • encouraging collaboration

  • listening to understand

  • identifying opportunities for others to grow

  • creating a climate that enhances motivation

  • respecting everyone

  • encouraging others

  • focusing on staff retention and succession planning

  • ensuring that subordinates have the initiative and apply it.

For Further Thought:   How are you doing at enabling others?  Are you actively empowering and mentoring people? Are you investing time to enhance relationships and build trust?  List three specific steps you could take to up your game with respect to enabling others to act.     

 As a leader, you have an extraordinary opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. Don’t underestimate your impact!

Douglass Teschner