In business today, there is an increasing emphasis on facilitative leadership as a way forward.
Traditionally, managers used their authority to make decisions, which employees followed. This often led to a "them versus us" mentality and a lack of employee commitment to the business.
Today, business owners are realising that the more you involve employees in decision making at all levels through facilitative leadership, the greater their sense of ownership, responsibility and motivation.
These individuals have a strong interest in the individual and what they have to contribute.
They are inquisitive about their underlying values and the reasons for their opinions and behaviour.
They are reflective in nature, and tend to be good at reading the "politics" at work.
They ask structured, probing questions and encourage interaction and debate, helping individuals to see alternative points of view.
In a change situation, they tend to work best in small groups or on a one to one basis. They spend much of their time asking good questions and listening. By changing the views of one they create a ripple effect.
They have a high degree of patience as facilitation takes time.
They do not become defensive when people have opposing views. They see this as an opportunity to get issues out in the open and have them resolved.
They chart individual and group progress towards change and are highly structured in their approach, at the same time being open to the views of others.
When coaching individuals to complete tasks, they help them achieve clarity around what has to be done, set goals, overcome obstacles and stay motivated.
Facilitative leadership involves focusing on what the individual is learning from the process as well as the outcome of the task. They provide support and encouragement - when looked for.
When a project has been achieved, they direct the praise towards the team and/or individuals. When a goal is not met, they take responsibility. He/she may have failed to:
Many businesses successfully support self managed teams, which make decisions without the need for an authoritative figure giving instructions. The Team Leader role is typically rotated amongst the team members for a set period of time.
This approach requires careful planning. The business culture and the timing have to be right. You will need to fully appraise the situation that you face and decide on the degree of employee involvement that is appropriate.
If this is an approach you wish to take, you need to to provide training for team members in areas such as:
Decisions are reached by consensus and are supported by all team members. An environment is created whereby individuals respect the wisdom and contributions of others on the team.
Tasks are divided up depending on the skills of each individual member and each individual is accountable for their agreed actions.
Here are some leadership quotations to get you thinking..
Leadership development is a lifetime journey, not a quick trip.- John Maxwell
You can't be a leader if you can't influence others to act.- Dale E. Zand
Leadership is about change... The best way to get people to venture into unknown terrain is to make it desirable by taking them there in their imaginations.- Noel Tichy