developing facilitative leaders

By: Interaction Associates  06-Dec-2011

Your business challenges are fairly straightforward. And most solutions are pretty simple. Right?

We didn’t think so.

If you’re like the rest of us, you deal with complex challenges in a business environment that’s become highly volatile. Market dynamics shift constantly. Competitors come out of nowhere. And your people look to you for all the answers.

You do have all the answers. Don’t you? Here’s the good news: You don’t have to.

A new type of dynamic and highly effective leader today doesn’t even try. Instead, these leaders achieve remarkable success with a combination of critical skills and practices that seem at odds with old definitions of strong leaders.  So, if they’re less like General Patton, what are the traits and characteristics of this new breed of leaders?

We call them Facilitative Leaders — a term we use to describe the successful and collaborative leaders we develop with clients — at the individual, team, and enterprise-wide levels.

Facilitative Leaders recognize that most of leadership involves change —  managing it, navigating it, and innovating to capitalize on it. To lead change, they truly excel at collaboration — and fully embrace its strategic role in driving change forward.

Facilitative Leaders know how to bring diverse perspectives together to see the bigger picture —  which gives them a better shot at achieving successful outcomes. What’s more, they know fundamentally that collaboration succeeds when it is based on shared responsibility for success — where everyone feels ownership for achieving outcomes that aren’t attainable individually. Facilitative Leaders know that the concept of shared responsibility is what distinguishes collaboration from mere compliance.

How can you spot Facilitative Leaders?

They are excellent strategic thinkers: Strategic Thinking is the mental process of selecting an appropriate course of action to achieve desired results. At its most basic level, it means seeing the forest AND the trees  —  and the related ecosystems they support. Strategic Thinking enables individual leaders and the organization’s collective leadership to see the whole, to understand that nothing stands in isolation, and that truly informed decisions come from understanding the interconnectedness of economic, social, political, cultural, and environmental factors.

They believe strongly in collaboration: This is the mindset that guides individuals to act in a cooperative and impactful manner. Facilitative Leaders know that collaboration is not about shifting from command-and-control to "coax and cajole." They employ collaboration as an essential tool for engaging relevant stakeholders in solving problems collaboratively and working to build a more collaborative culture in their organizations or communities. They make conscious choices about how much collaboration is appropriate for each decision and delegate accordingly. They devise and articulate a vision of triple-bottom-line value that inspires and motivates internal and external company stakeholders alike. With the big picture in mind and the right attitude, these leaders have a greater understanding of the need to work collectively toward successful ways of doing business.

They are powerful facilitators: Facilitative Leaders see how leadership has shifted from managing one-on-one, to leading one-to-many. They are equipped with the practical tools, techniques and actions that help groups of people build understanding and agreement. Collaborative skill is critical, including creating the right conditions for innovation, building agreement, structuring decision-making, and convening the appropriate stakeholders. These important skills ensure that collaboration occurs seamlessly and doesn’t get bogged down, lead to consensus paralysis, or fail entirely.

Other products and services from Interaction Associates



Drawing on nearly 40 years of innovation in the people-and-performance side of business, Interaction Associates engages with clients in a variety of ways, ranging from working directly in a consulting capacity with leaders and their teams, to delivering organization-wide leadership development solutions customized to our clients’ unique needs.


public workshops

You'll also have the opportunity to participate in optional follow-up coaching and best practice sessions online to reinforce what you learned in the classroom. You'll meet and learn from professionals in a variety of industries — people with similar challenges and goals with a wealth of experience to share. Project Managers can earn up to 24 PDU's by attending either Essential Facilitation or Facilitative Leadership.