What is Facilitative Leadership?


In your career you have probably come across various definitions of the word leadership and different ideas about how to lead effectively. And if you are reading this, then you are obviously very dedicated to developing your skills to improve your leadership skills! Countless theories have been put forth about what it takes to be a good leader, but all of them involve people.  After all, leadership is about groups of people.  Today I want to introduce you to facilitative leadership.

Facilitative leadership is about aligning people in the same direction, so they can achieve a shared goal. What makes facilitative leadership different from the other forms of leadership is the involvement of others at the decision-making stage.  Traditionally managers, team leads, or bosses make a decision on their own and then introduce it to the group. Facilitative leadership is different.  The decisions are made together as a group.  This may seem very strange.  After all, isn’t it the boss’s job to have all the answers?  No need to worry, you can employ decision making at the group level and still oversee the content (more on this to come) while enjoying the huge benefits that come from decision making as a group. The three key benefits of facilitative leadership are commitmentalignment, and innovation.

Key Benefits of Facilitative Leadership

  • Enables self-leadership
  • Helps employees see and understand the big picture
  • Increases employee motivation and commitment via participatory decision making
  • Helps employees align tasks
  • Facilitated meetings can help create innovation and new ideas
  • Very effective in dealing with complexity

Key Challenges of Facilitative Leadership

  • Allows idea creation by employees and may seem chaotic
  • Requires group facilitation skills to deal with the chaos of group decision making

Think of the following two scenarios; you are told by your boss that you need to travel more, or you decide with your team members that it would be best for you to take more work trips. Which scenario would you be more pleased with?  If an idea or a decision is decided together as a group, people will be much more committed to it. And with this higher level of commitment also comes strong alignment among the group.  Alignment refers to the individual tasks and actions that each member will take in response to the decision or goal that was decided on.

Finally, you and your team will benefit from more innovation and creativity following the shared decision.  Many employees have never seen facilitative leadership in action or been involved in making decisions as a group, and they have the chance to share ideas and contribute in a way that has not been possible before.  Facilitative leadership lets them raise their voice to contribute in a new way and everyone benefits from this.

The tools, methods, and theory behind facilitative leadership are something I share with people daily, and I want you to learn more about them, too! A great place for you to find out more is in my new book, The Handbook of Facilitative Leadership: Concrete Ways to Boost Performance. You can read a preview of the book and find out more simply by clicking this link:  The Handbook of Facilitative Leadership: Concrete Ways to Boost Performance.

If you would like to hear about our Facilitative Leadership training, please let us know. We would love to hear from you!

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Other inquiries: contact Pepe Nummi, [email protected].

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