Facilitative Leadership

6th February 2009

There is a myth, that a facilitators role is a passive one. One in which they might record points of discussion faithfully, or offer time checks meekly! I once heard a horror story from a client, who hired a facilitator. Not a Meeting Magic facilitator I hasten to add.

This facilitator, let’s call him ‘Timmy’, sat throughout the entire meeting making no interventions. About 5 minutes before the end, he gave a time check and then drew the meeting to a close! Facilitators like Timmy give the facilitation profession a bad name.

My view is that facilitation is an active leadership style.I appreciate that this style might not suit everyone and every situation, but it is still a form of leadership.

When people reach senior positions in large organisations, it’s not usually for their collaborative style. Being able to get a group of senior people, usually very articulate, and with strong views, to achieve agreed outcomes in a meeting, requires active leadership.