Facilitation as a style of leadership is rapidly gaining ground. In an environment of rapid change, no single person can see all that is going on and that needs to be done. Command and control styles of leadership under these conditions break down and die. People on the front lines have the information they need to respond to changes rapidly once given the authority and tools they need to act.
Facilitative leadership isn’t always appropriate, but it yields the best results when there’s time to employ it. The type of leadership we employ depends on the abilities, situation, and culture of our organization. For instance, facilitative approaches often fall flat in groups who are just learning the basic skills their work demands, or who have temperaments that require constant direction. Further, in crisis situations, with little time for discussion, command and control is often the leadership style of choice.
How does Facilitative Leadership compare to Visionary Leadership and Management?
In their book, “Managers as Facilitators, Richard Weaver & John Farrell distinguish between the visionary leader, the manager, and facilitator. The following table from their book summarizes the differences between each of these three roles.
Know when and where to use facilitative leadership
What do these characteristics bring up for you? Are there places where employing a more directive or visionary style might be appropriate for you? A more facilitative style?
Review the table above and note if there are places where you are using one style of leadership that would be better served by using another. We’d love to hear what you come up with. Please share your questions, feedback, or experience on this topic in the comments section below.