Unleashing Success: The Genius of Enablement Without Overcommitment

by | Aug 17, 2023 | Coaching, Working Genius

Leading the Critical Hand-Off to Enablement

Operating at the critical hinge between Activation and Implementation, Enablement is where plans begin to turn into action.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the Genius of Enablement, its profound impact on teamwork, and the necessity for a leaer to coach their team for both action & health.

(New to Working Genius? Check out An Intro To The Six Types of Working Genius)

Enablement: Laying the Foundation as an Activity


In the Six Types of Working Genius by Patrick Lencioni, Enablement is the activity of responding to calls for action, anticipating needs and offering the valuable support required to propel projects toward fruition. It’s where mere plans are ignited into actionable realities and momentum is gained.

Enablement as Someone’s Genius

When speaking of Enablement as a Genius, it refers to the preference and instinctual tendency of a person to do Enablement work because it’s both intuitive and energizing to them.

This intuition is typically combined with a willingness and motivation to meet those needs on the terms presented to them.

Often considered “Team Players”, they are ready and available to champion people and projects.

Enablement is More than Doing The Task at Hand

At the heart of Enablement, regardless of it being someone’s Genius or not, is the provision of necessary support that enables a team to move towards a common goal. In fact, the ‘doing’ is the medium for the support being provided.

This is why, when Enablement is executed well, team members experience a profound sense of encouragement.

The Temptation to Overcommit

Let’s remember: A person with Enablement as a Genius finds deep satisfaction in the knowledge that personal contributions are enhancing the collective effort, not solely accomplishing individual assignments.

However, because of this inner motivation, there exists a temptation to undertake more work than is feasible. If gone unchecked, this desire to step in and help can even evolve into an undisciplined motivation to people-please.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is only confined to those inclined toward Enablement. Nor is it guaranteed to occur. But it’s a pitfall that must not be left unchecked.

Regardless of why someone might overcommit – what needs to be understood & highlighted is that overcommitment will happen subtly, going unnoticed until it results in exhaustion, burnout or even resentment.

The Leader’s Role in Navigating Overcommitment

Just like a world-class speaker preparing to speak to their audience, leaders are responsible to think about their audience: how to serve and connect with those they lead.

It’s imperative to know your people and think about them before you can lead them.

Who is on your team? What challenges may they be facing? What brings the best out of them?

This includes recognizing how easy it is to slowly overcommit and be curious about why/how their team may fall into tha trap. Is Enablement their Genius? Is the person really loyal? Or perhaps it’s the something about the leadership style of the leader?

In any case, this does NOT mean a leader decides what a person should or shouldn’t take on.

Instead, the leader’s responsibility in addressing the possibility of excessive commitments involves establishing a coaching framework for the team in which:

  1. They are given the dignity and freedom to decide and lead themselves
  2. They are permitted to rethink their work, use of time/resources/processes and where they thrive
  3. Their self-awareness and capacity to solve problems are enhanced

But there’s one more key element you’ll need in order to maximize your coaching conversation.

Admit That Every ‘Yes’ Takes Up Real Estate

You can only stack so many ‘yeses’ onto someone’s (or your own) plate, before it results in cutting corners. An extra meeting, that last-minute report and all the ‘extras’ add up. Something will give eventually.

This is not to say something ‘shady’ or unethical will happen.

However, too often the ‘no’ that’s often on the other side of a ‘yes’ is not an equal exchange for time, duties or responsibility.

What is actually being denied is something much worse and isn’t commonly acknowledged…

Margin, Joy and Potential.

When these are displaced, a person’s optimal contribution and their growing potential is exchanged for average work, average results and average personal satisfaction.

Within the coaching context, recognize that something has to give, not allowing it to be something that takes away from the team’s personal well-being, their ability to bring their best or develop their potential.

Coach for your team’s best!

Coach in a way that puts your team members first, not just the how or what of the work itself.

Try asking, “What might be the other side of that ‘Yes’?” and “How can we navigate that together?”

When you do, you’ll find yourself listening more than prescribing and your team responding with greater confidence.

4 Bonus Strategies for Safeguarding Enablement 
  1. Cultivate a Holistic Culture: Foster a workplace culture that values boundaries, personal growth, and the overall health of the team. This foundation supports Enablement while preventing burnout and fostering a balanced approach.
  2. Strategic Staffing: Do you have the staff you need for the workload that exists? Staff your team with a clear understanding of its workload, ensuring that responsibilities align with available resources. This prevents overextension and promotes quality outcomes.
  3. Seasonal Intensity: Acknowledge that teams/individuals do go through periods of heightened intensity. However, it’s crucial to recognize when these periods should be exceptions rather than the new norm.
  4. Ongoing Evaluation: Regularly assess the efficiency, relevance, and necessity of ongoing tasks. Eliminate or revamp processes that no longer contribute meaningfully.

Start a Conversation Towards Knowing Your Team on another level!

I firmly believe that harnessing the power of the Working Genius can be a transformative step towards improving both productivity and team morale in your workplace. If you hold a leadership role, witnessing the tangible impact of this model on your team’s dynamics is an opportunity that should not be missed.

While I can’t compel you, I invite you to take advantage of the test drive I offer. Should the concepts resonate with you, we can seamlessly arrange for a full-team experience of The Working Genius. Your team’s potential for growth and success awaits.