The 5 Enabling Ways of Great Leaders

I don’t know how I have come to think of the word “Enable” as negative but somewhere along the line I have. Maybe I associate it with co-dependent behavior or maybe I hear it used in negative ways like, “You should stop enabling their unhealthy behavior.” But the fact is, the word “Enable” is key to growing healthy leaders.

If you look up the word enable in the dictionary you will get this definition. “To provide someone with power, means or opportunity. To make possible.”

The fact is great leaders “Enable” people to make a difference in and with their lives! Here are 5 enabling ways of great leaders who have made an impact in my life over the years and to be honest, it’s not something they have done but who they are that resonated with me.


5 Enabling Ways of Great Leaders


1. Great Leaders are UnABLE

Yes, a unique characteristic to start with for sure but the “UnABLE” leader is an authentic leader, a humble leader. They are often ready to tell you about their failures before their success. Being real, transparent and vulnerable are not "cute" attempts to enable others but a necessary ingredient. Their “Un-ABLE-ing” personality is a paradox because it actually gives power to those around them and that is a key ingredient to enabling others.


2. Great Leaders are BreakABLE

Here is asimple truth that is based in personal experience. In order for a great leader to enable others they must experience brokenness. Not simply brokenness as a result of outside circumstances but brokenness from choices they personally made. Brokenness involves weakness and God’s power is perfectly made in weakness.

If you haven’t yet experienced the good fortune of being broken then you have not truly felt God’s greatest power. Great leaders aren’t made of fine china, they aren’t that fragile, but they are breakable and when they are broken their stories fragment into a million pieces that enable others with hope, courage and resilience to begin again or keep going!


3. Great Leaders are QuestionABLE

You can approach enabling leaders with a question or comment that is contradictory to their beliefs and they will listen to you without spite, condemnation or looking at you like you are a flat out idiot.

Each significant leader that has made an impact in my life was questionable. I could ask them everything from “How” they did something to “Why” they did something and they wouldn’t be threatened by it.


4. Great Leaders are ErasABLE

Great leaders can disappear because “it’s not about them.” They have learned to surrender control and variably “erase” themselves from a process or project because they don’t lead with fear and do not need to be the epicenter of everything. They know that to truly enable others they need to occasionally erase themselves.


5. Great Leaders are FlamABLE

Great leaders are on fire with passion. We often associate passionate leaders with an outgoing or charismatic personality but that’s not the case. There are several leaders that have made a difference in my life that did not have charismatic personalities, in fact, most did not.

Take a look at Mother Theresa’s life. You can’t tell me she wasn’t passionate, her life was on fire! She was FlamABLE to everyone yet not charismatic! Great leaders possess the ability to be both gas and match. If something grabs their heart they ignite, they burn! Once they are burning they set others ablaze as well.


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