Recently, a guest speaker on a podcast made the point that we are a culture of enablers.
Parents increasingly enable their adult children to live at home longer, pay off their debts and solve all their problems. Making the world at home so comfortable and easy only delays launching into real life.
Leaders enable employees to get away with sub-par work by making excuses or covering up for them.
This only serves to hurt morale and reinforces mediocrity.
Even friends enable each other to stay stuck in patterns that limit their future.
Overall, enabling someone sounds like a bad thing. The definition of enabling is to give someone the means to do something. If that something is good for their future and gives them an opportunity they wouldn't have otherwise, it's valuable. It may only be worthwhile as long as the person appreciates the gesture and doesn't take it for granted.
No Free Rides
The moment you take someone's problems away, you could be feeding insecurity and doubt. Often we enable people we love to stay stuck in unhealthy situations.
Some people hate change, so they look for anything they can to stay where they are. If they can find a willing enabler to sustain the lifestyle and habits they have, they can put off the inevitable change.
Change is risky, it creates a lot of fear, and it's uncomfortable. The hardest part of any change is letting go of the past. Someone can't let go of the past if someone else makes it more comfortable for them to stay there.
The moment parents force their grown children to move out of their house; they have to solve their life problem- manage their own money, get a career, get a home, and get a job. The alternative enabling may be breeding doubt and fear of the future while robbing them of problem-solving skills.
Leaders allow poor performance for many reasons, but the most common
is that they don't want to address performance problems because it may create conflict. That conflict never goes away and drags down team morale. Even more, employees are stuck in unhealthy performance scenarios that limit their future and breed discontent.
Some people like to keep their friends in the same league or situation as they are in so that they are there when they need them. The TV Show GIrls highlighted a scenario where a friend offered for her pal to stay at her place instead of going off to a university as her parents insisted.
Some people like to cheer for the underdog. Driven by compassion and the need to help out others, they swoop in and help people through challenging life-altering situations.
This may be valuable as long as it's not holding the person back and enabling them to stay stuck in the past.