The Goal of Helping is Enabling, Not More Helping
Ego needs to feel important. A ego-filled leader enjoys dependent relationships.
Helping feels good. It’s destructive when people can’t move forward without you.
Reject the ego-building intoxication that comes from being needed.
The goal of helping is enabling:
Over-helping makes people weak. People enable themselves. You provide tools, training, and opportunity.
Belief is the beginning of enabling. Ego enjoys the dependency of others. Leaders help people believe in themselves. If people believe in you, help them believe in themselves.
You create dependency when people need permission. Initiative indicates confidence. Permission-asking indicates dependency. The more check-ins you require, the more dependent people become.
You promote insecurity when you hoard information and resources. Build teams that move forward without you. Clarify goals together. Identify resources together. Establish timelines together. Schedule appropriate check-ins and set competent people free.
You perpetuate dependency when you solve problems for people. Never offer a solution until you ask, “What have you tried?” Explore their solutions before offering your own. Never help a competent person who hasn’t tried something already.
You prolong neediness when people are afraid to offer alternative viewpoints. When was the last time someone disagreed with you?
- When someone asks what you think, ask, “What do you think?”
- When someone asks for advice, ask, “What would you do?”
- When someone is hesitant, ask, “What’s the bravest thing you can do?”
You maintain helplessness when you do all the talking. The person who talks the most has the most power. Give power by providing space for others to talk. Shift their talking from things others should do to things they can do.
How can leaders offer help that doesn’t promote dependency?