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10 Signs You Are a Facilitative Leader

by Samuel Bacharach November 2, 2009

Last week we outlined directive leadership; what it means, what forms it takes, and when it is used. We were careful to point out that directive leadership, although task driven, isn’t the only or the best way to sustain momentum within an organization. Sometimes it can force an organization to produce unexpected results and, on other occasions, it can smother employee motivation and drive.

Leaders who are opposed to directive leadership’s main tenants and rely on reflection and adaptable priorities can be considered facilitative leaders. Facilitative leadership is used to sustain momentum by meeting challenges without a set action plan. Facilitative leaders value creativity, reflection, and brain storming over planning, commands, and efficiency. Again, facilitative leadership isn’t the right fit for some people and some organizations. While it might produce results for one set of people it might create apathy and inefficient work habits within another.

Here are 10 signs you are a facilitative leader:

1.You have the capacity to make adjustments: As a facilitative leader you aren’t afraid to change plans, ideas, and strategies.

2. You put emphasis on people’s ability to reflect and innovate: You trust your peers and employees to be able to create new solutions and ideas in creative ways.

3. You want people to feel confidant in their ability to adjust plans and solve problems: Not only do you trust people to think outside the box, you actively work to instill confidence within your peers and employees.

4. You feel that people will find ways to avoid inertia: You assume that your employees will fight stagnation by proposing new ideas, challenges, and agendas.

5. You assume most people are self-motivated and appreciate challenges: You think that everyone around you works hard and wants to succeed.

6. You are not afraid of uncertainty: When faced with a new problem you are confidant it can be solved by your innovative team.

7. You think organizations are networks, not hierarchies: You feel that everyone is a team member and has a equal say while you disregard traditional chain-0f-command discipline.

8. You don’t mind risk and you don’t feel alone: You assume that your staff and yourself can handle or maneuver problems deftly.

9. You aim to maximize spontaneity and adaptability: You encourage forward thinking, new ideas, and a ever-changing organizational structure.

10. You don’t value routine, controlled systems, and measurement: Instead of focusing on the numbers and tangible tasks your are motivated by visionary, adaptive ideas.

The facilitative leader can help an organization confront uncertainty, challenges, and stagnation. However, facilitative leaders run the risk of getting side-tracked and overwhelmed with a visionary idea. Without focus and a eye for measurement, implementation becomes challenging, if not impossible. Facilitative leaders might be the first to innovate, but the last to produce real-world results