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10 Qualities of Facilitative Leaders

Leadership can exist everywhere and anywhere. It's not associated with a position as such, though common parlance often makes that association. Leaders are people who help us to change. They sometimes are those who occupy positions of power, but often they are not. Facilitative leadership is an attitude that anyone can practice.

Highlights from the Article

The basic definition of facilitation is to make easy. In terms of group facilitation, to design, conduct, and manage a healthy group process making it easier for the group to accomplish its purpose.

Facilitative leadership invites and empowers others as opposed to commanding and directing. In most instances, it's the best way to lead, especially when you want to build leadership within your team. As a relational form of leadership, it also lends itself to being practiced by unofficial leaders.

Here are 10 qualities of facilitative leaders:

  1. You're Facilitative vs. Directive. Facilitative leaders know that they're not here to "fix" anyone. While they may be the "designated" leader, they understand that they don't always need to have all the answers.

  2. You're not a "know-it-all." Being the leader doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be the "authority" on the subject at hand.

  3. You're a guide on the side vs. a sage on center stage. If you adopt the perspective that the wisdom in the "room" is far more potent than the "sage" in front of the room, you'll see your people more engaged, having more fun, and achieving greater results.

  4. You believe in your people. You see, invite, and challenge your people, not based on what they've done, but what you know they can do based on the latent abilities you see in them.

  5. You're transparent. You don't withhold relevant thoughts and feelings to try to look good to your team. To the degree we are honest about what we see and experience, the more effortlessly we will move forward, and the more powerful our invitation is to others to accept and see what is.

  6. You make adjustments instead of judgments. You gracefully accept constructive feedback from your team members. When you make mistakes, you own them, correct them, and move on.

  7. You're over yourself. You accept yourself fully, flaws and all. You've given up presenting an image you think others want to see and offer your unique self as you are.

  8. You practice extreme responsibility. You get that you choose your thoughts, feelings, and actions in every moment no matter the outer circumstances.

  9. You practice being present. You live in the present knowing that this is where you get your power and knowledge of right action. The best future possible will be derived from living solidly, fully, and effectively in the now.

  10. You take excellent care of yourself. You engage in regular centering and self-care practices to help you stay in peak condition physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

The Gifted Perspective

Originally published in Steve Davis’ Master Facilitator Journal in 2006, and reposted again in 2011, this article has stood the test of time and is even more relevant for today’s evolving workplace. Here’s what today’s workers are saying they need:

  • Role models we can learn from by working alongside them, not lectures or even inspirational talks.

  • People who are ordinary and who level with us and yet are extraordinary in the way they listen, empathize, challenge us, create energy, creativity and fun, reflect back to us, open new perspectives and help us realize we can do more than we thought we could.

  • Mentors and coaches who will come alongside us and partner with us, not manage us.

Sounds a lot like Facilitative Leadership! How can you become more of a Facilitative Leader?!

At Gifted Leaders, we want to equip you and your team to create a culture of facilitative leadership that produces great results. Contact us today about individual leadership coaching or our Teams That Talk™ coaching approach!


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