I have led teams and enterprises since 1994 and find my natural style to be facilitative. Facilitation is a neutral role managing a process of thought and agreement, balancing differing views. Facilitative leadership is almost identical.
As I focused more of my work on person-centred communications and facilitation, I brought the principles together with my coaching and mentoring as well as my work in Emotional Intelligence. Over time, facilitative leadership stopped being just a theory to teach: it’s how I run my businesses.
Organisational hierarchy is a constant. While an enterprise flexes and changes, there is always an underlying structure and this is where facilitative leadership comes to the fore. The modern business landscape is more organic and dynamic which calls for a leader who has the ability to align all stakeholders.
Facilitative leadership is about creating an environment for organisations to collaborate and co-create. As a person-centred approach, a facilitative leader ensures that all voices are heard and everyone’s values and beliefs are recognised.
We all have leadership traits, regardless of job description – and this fact means that we need to be able to lead through capability instead of titles.
Facilitative leadership is a contemporary model driven by outcomes and sees the benefit of enquiry, empathy and collaboration.
The facilitative leader builds the psychological safety in the organisation to engender employee engagement, raise productivity, encourage innovation, forge team cohesion, enhance client relationships and so much more.
Facilitation is about making things easier – and a person-centred approach of facilitative leadership is exactly what this is all about. By removing the leader’s ego, we see structured conversations that are non-directional, non-critical. They are unbiased and completely open to the influence of others in the conversation.
Imagine this: as CEO you need to raise £1m seed funding to grow your B2B venture. If your background is Private Equity (PE) then you may have a natural inclination (or a huge aversion) to it. By having a balanced discussion with colleagues, you become increasingly aware of crowdfunding.
In your PE life, you may have considered crowdfunding to be inappropriate. You may feel that it was more rewards-based and geared to B2C. You natural inclination for your B2B funding might be equity-based with one large investor. Rather than close the conversation down with a flat, “no”, the facilitative leader is there to lead the process of encouraging new thoughts, fresh opinions, etc.
Rather than close your mind to crowdfunding, being willing to listen to all options where anyone can contribute without fear of contradiction (or judgement) opens up the discussion.
You still have your overarching goal of finding the £1m but you are learning about the alternatives.
A facilitative leader doesn’t need to know everything. Leadership development is about being able to lose the ego and open the mind.
Facilitative leadership skills
In my experience as facilitator and in leadership roles, facilitative leadership is fantastic for teams. I have built the majority of my businesses through Associates and Partners.
In fact, in the last 2 years, I have had one face-to-face meeting with my 50/50 partner in Litha.
Facilitative leadership is great for – dare I say this – the Agile community.
Consider any situation where you have used a facilitator and, instead, think about how you, in your leadership role, can facilitate instead.
Yes, sometimes the external facilitator works but if your leadership is person-centred, they can take on that role.
Being in a person-centred engagement with your own leaders has a galvanising effect – whether this is a 1:1 conversation, team meeting, away day, or the kick-off session for a team… a facilitative leader should be front-and-centre.
Imagine a situation where people look forward to going to a meet that you’re hosting.
Imagine the feedback that everyone feels involved and engaged, that ideas flowed – and that you leave people with a sense of purpose.
The Leadership Development programme is where I work with you as we explore your psychology, communications and behaviour. Using structured training as well as coaching and mentoring, we build your facilitative leadership skills in the context of your role.
Stop being the faceless executive
Through a structured 6-month program, your facilitative leadership style evolves into something that is congruent to you as the individual. You bring your personality to the leadership framework of the modern leader.
Heavily linked to the book, “Leader Language: LLQi“, you will learn about person-centred communications, leader psychology, and facilitative leadership.
- Build a culture that moves away from transactional conversations
- Engender balanced adult-adult conversations
- Removing contamination from conversations
- Attentive listening – building understanding through questions and not ‘summaries & paraphrasing’
- Building your empathic strength
- Constructive critique through collaboration
- Creating psychological safety to enable innovation, team cohesion and high productivity
- Developing your conversational behaviours
- Understanding below-the-line communication
- Recognise the full range of values and beliefs and work with people that you may disagree with
Practical Development Program
We’ve all been through it: a quick-hit workshop, some offsite training, a certificate at the end. When we first get back to the office, we remember some key mantras before slipping back into old ways.
It’s OK – we all forget information from a workshop when we don’t get the information reinforced.
This program is different inasmuch as it is placed within the context of your role and has a 70 : 20 : 10 split so the emphasis is on what goes on in your role. Supporting this is mentorship & coaching and a series of learning interventions.