Task Enabling

Hi!!! And Welcome Back to Motivated Mondays! 

We’re talking about well-being. 

A quick recap of last week before we continue.

Last week, we began to explore High Quality Connections (HQCs) as a way to build vibrant connective tissue within organizations and communities (1). HQCs are not just formed within our close, intimate relationships. In fact, any point of contact with another person, from a loved one to a complete stranger, has the potential to be a High Quality Connection. 

You know a High Quality Connection when you have one. You can feel it. HQCs demonstrate mutual regard, trust, and active engagement from both sides (1). These connections help you feel open, competent, engaged, and energized. Think of it this way. Energy is a renewable resource that helps us act and feel capable of action (1). It is also the fuel for organizations. 

How do you contribute and fuel others?

There are four main pathways to developing a High Quality Connection (1):

  1. Respectful Engagement - Sending a message of value and worth to someone else. 
  2. Task Enabling - Helping another succeed.
  3. Trusting - Conveying belief in another.
  4. Play - Having fun with another.

Respectful engagement is needed by all, but not always given to all. As a human, we are all sensitive to signals about our worth (1). Respectful engagement signals to another person that we see them as valuable or worthy. This type of connection builds feelings of worth in the other person and allows a secure basis for interaction. 

So last week, I invited you to examine a recent interaction and practice Respectful Engagement. What did you discover? Was your interaction an example of respectful engagement? If not, did you intentionally infuse this connection with respectful engagement through modified your body language, sharing your time and attention, or offering genuine affirmation? If so, what do you notice?

This week, I want to examine another way to build High Quality Connections and explore Task Enabling. 

Task enabling.png

Task enabling greases the wheels for someone else’s success. It’s comprised of multiple strategies that facilitate another person’s performance (1). Task enabling also generates energy and commitment as it builds HQCs in organizations and communities.

It can look like: 

  • Teaching - sharing useful insight, information, and knowledge
  • Designing - structuring aspects of a task to fit skills and strengths or otherwise facilitate another’s performance
  • Advocating - helping another navigate red-tape or political structures
  • Nurturing - helping someone’s developmental needs to aid success

All of these actions signal value to the other person and develop High Quality Connections.

Task enabling is a reciprocal investment that strengthens and builds connections while promoting growth and performance through a positive cycle of feedback (1). This process also communicates positive regard and affirmation. Even small actions can be very powerful, facilitate work flow, and ripple through organizations and communities (1, 2).

We rise by lifting others.png

Further, task enabling builds the self-image and feelings of worth in the person you are assisting. It also builds feelings of worth in those you, who is task enabling, by signifying that you have something worthy to offer your community or organization (1). When done with a mindset of mutuality, task enabling can create a virtuous cycle of enabling within communities and organizations because receiving assistance builds the desire to be of assistance (1). 

Task enabling promotes shared goals which can enhance cooperation, build loyalty, and energize relationships (1). That said, there are some barriers to task enabling. It can be difficult to ask for help, and sometimes, it can be challenging to take the time to offer help. Promoting task enabling creates a culture where is is ok to reach out and ask for assistance when needed and where it is encouraged to take the time to deliberately assist those who ask. This culture can be reinforced by verbally affirming those who ask for and provide help.

Some helpful ideas to facilitate task enabling include: 

  1. Start by explicitly communicating your desire to assist. Just being explicit helps others talk about this important topic and motivates helpful action.
  2. Arrange regular and specific times to talk about task enabling. Remember, what you see may not be the most helpful thing for someone else. Perhaps there is something standing in the way of progress. So listen, be open and engage.
  3. Seek regular feedback, every six months or so. Check in to be sure the task enabling is continuing to work effectively. As people grow and change, so do their needs and abilities to assist others.

Remember, regardless of your position within a community or organization you have the power to set a tone, impact culture, and improve the quality of the connections around you. Lead by example. Ask for help and offer to help others. Be specific and strategic. Avoid biting off more that you can chew. Follow through is important as that is where the magic happens. It is in the action of task enabling that connections are strengthened, so only offer the help you can truly give. No amount of help is too small! Simply being a connector is a great way to help when your own plate is full. It takes very little time, and can be immensely helpful to others. 

Teaching.png

This week, I invite you to consider who enables you? Make a list of folks who have helped you in moments of need within your own organization or community. Then, note how they have helped you. Next, take it a step further, and make a list of ways you can you pay it forward and lift someone up through task enabling. Who do you see that may need some assistance? What strengths and skills can you leverage to be helpful in this situation? Then engage. Create the ripple effects that will energize others and yourself in the process (1, 2)

I hope you enjoy integrating High Quality Connections through Task Enabling this week, and look forward to seeing you again next week to continue to explore HQCs! 

As always, gratitude for the expertise of the following resources.

References

1. Dutton J. Energize your workplace: How to create and sustain high-quality connections at work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2006.

2. Fowler J, Christakis N.  Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: Longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study. British Medical Journal, 337, a2338; 2008.