What does it take to be an Enabling Leader

What qualities are necessary for effective Enabling Leadership?
What does it take to be an Enabling Leader

As quoted by the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu,” A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

This in essence captures the most important avatar of leadership – Enabling Leadership.

Even today, we see the traditional leadership pattern dominating the corporate world. The key contrast between the conventional approach and Enabling leadership, is that the conventional approach is commanding, controlled, and task-oriented while Enabling Leadership is versatile, enabling, and people-oriented.

In this article we will cover:

  1. Role of enabling leaders
  2. Key traits of an enabling leader

Role of Enabling Leaders

Helping individuals reach their highest potential is a successful organization’s core.

When people in an organization are not allowed to contribute, are hindered from developing, or receive inadequate support, the outcomes are significant. It results in a monotonous work culture and a wastage of intellectual capacity and talent.

Here are a few interesting insights that reinforce the role of leadership in creating trust, connect, and loyalty.

Surely leaders play a central role in respecting, empowering, and developing people to their full potential.

An Enabling Leader is one who focuses on creating a culture where people can thrive, grow, and develop. What makes them stand out from others is their mindset, focused towards facilitating and enabling, rather than directing.

Their goal is to create a culture where everyone feels like they have the tools they need to succeed and can be who they are without any fear of judgment. This leadership style is all about ensuring whoever works for or with you has the right resources and support to thrive in your organization.

Their simple task is to bring out the potential that resides in each member of the team and apply it to the goal at hand, whether it is a short-term goal or a long-term vision.

To shift gears to be an Enabling Leader, it is vital to get a good understanding of what traits you need to focus on to be an Enabler. Let’s deep dive into these common traits that will act as a north star for aspiring leaders to advance their personal and collective success.

Key traits of an Enabling leader

  1. Visionary: Enabling leaders are those who are purposeful and driven by their vision. They are passionate about what they are doing, and they make sure to communicate their goals and vision with ample clarity with their team. They share the reason for how to reach it and why it matters in a way that instills the same fervor and passion amongst all to achieve it as a shared goal.
  2. Self-Awareness: Enabling leaders are cognizant of their proficiencies, imperfections, and drives. They draw on their talents to propel the squad toward ambitious goals. They have the humility to accept their weaknesses and focus on building capabilities to address the weak areas. Foremost they understand that there is no greater leverage than the truth.
  3. Supportive and create a Sense of Ownership: Enabling Leaders are always supportive of their employees. They motivate them to reach their potential but at the same time give them room to make mistakes and innovate on their own. They build a sense of ownership owing to which people feel that the problems are theirs to solve. Under their leadership, employees feel empowered to raise issues, challenge objectives, and also come up with solutions.
  1. Motivating: Enabling leaders draw on the abilities of everyone in their group, and motivate them to strive for achieving the shared objectives, each day. They never fail to engage their team with inspiring messages, empowering words, and positive reinforcement so that they stay motivated throughout the tasks ahead of them.
  2. Synergistic: Creating a synergistic environment is what Enabling leaders are good at. They encourage open communication between colleagues and believe in an open-door policy for ideas or feedback from different perspectives. Such leaders make sure that the entire group is aware that any success is an outcome of many members’ contributions and not a deed of a single individual. They are driven by the belief that – Individuals play the game, but a team together beats the odds.
  3. Decisive: While being collaborative is important, Enabling Leaders are decisive too. They are fully aware that no decision is a decision too and can impede the performance of the team and the organization. They are agile, and adaptative, and understand the importance of taking timely informed decisions with full commitment from the team.
  1. Has high expectations for others: Enabling leaders to understand and make sure to set higher expectations that are motivating but realistic. At the same time, they empower their team with tools, training, and resources to perform at their fullest potential. Not only do they have a deep understanding of their team’s individual and collective capabilities, but they also work towards enhancing them to be their best selves.
  2. Constructive Feedback: Enabling leaders to make sure they follow up on expectations and provide regular coaching and fact-based feedback. They are considerate to convey constructive criticism and perceive it as an avenue for advancement instead of an attack on the individual. Their actions and communication are guided by questions like: What can I do better? How could this person benefit from some additional coaching or guidance? How can I lead my team to greater success for themselves and the company?
  3. Effective Communicators: One of the key traits of enabling leaders is their ability to communicate with clarity. They develop the aptitude to even articulate difficult things in a way that people can grasp them. Such leaders recognize the value of consistent, clear, and honest communication. They steer away from being diplomatic and communicate to get their point across without causing anyone else stress and confusion. They are responsive, authentic, and transparent, and understand that communication keeps the entire machinery lubricated, aligned, and focused.


The bottom line is that when leaders thrive, so do organisation’s. Leadership strength is both innate and developed. In today’s dynamic work environment, one cannot be leading the traditional way.  It is important to lead with influence, inspiration, and impact. This is what enabling leaders do. When Enabling Leaders do their job well, the organization reaps the benefits of enhanced productivity, creativity, and efficiency.

The bottom line is, that being an enabling leader is all about changing the way you think, lead, and behave. It is not being a leader who tells people what to do but acting as a coach to others to be successful and achieve their true potential. It is about being mindful of one’s role which is to give direction, empower and yet be vigilant to step back and act as an enabler, not an executor.

The mindset and skill to be an Enabler of your team are among the most important skills you can develop in your career.

At GlobalGyan our leadership programs are curated for aspiring leaders to unlock their leadership potential by helping them develop industry-ready skills, competencies, and mindset to lead confidently with influence and impact. To be an enabling leader contact us at engage@globalgyan.in

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