Knowing how to facilitate dialogue and work between team members and across teams is critical to a leader’s success. You must be able to guide team members as they solve problems, develop plans, organize tasks, and seek innovative solutions. Leaders with strong group-facilitation skills teams can successfully overcome challenges and navigate through the muddy waters of the ever-changing business world.
Facilitation as a Leader
Facilitation is a neutral process that allows teams to effectively coordinate their activities and helps them articulate and achieve common objectives. Facilitating group work requires the ability to balance your attention between the tasks to be completed, and the relationship issues among the group to ensure every member is involved. As a leader, you should be prepared to help the group explore issues without over-controlling their procedures or outcomes.
Most businesses are now flatter and leaner than they were in the past. This means that more individuals across the company are involved in making decisions. Today’s workforce also wants to be empowered; they want to add value, perform meaningful work, and promote change.
In addition, employees are also more likely to support decisions that they helped make. Involving them in decisions and implementation plans up front makes good sense. Drawing on the experience, motivation, and talent of your employees helps to ensure they will take ownership of key initiatives and drive their success.
Facilitating a productive meeting isn’t easy. Sometimes leaders are unprepared or lack the training to successfully navigate disagreement on a team. Time pressures can interfere with even the best intentions and cause leaders to fall back on a command-and-control approach. Others may have little patience or trouble managing personal biases and remaining objective during the group discussion.
Improving Your Facilitation Skills
At CMOE, we teach leaders to connect with the group members by establishing rapport and respect. This way, the group becomes more comfortable asking questions, exploring the contributions of others, and expressing new ideas. We also help these leaders set a clear direction for the group. When every group member understands what they are trying to achieve, they can rise to higher levels of performance. Then, the leader must be able to help the group explore data, probe into issues, and propose and create recommendations. Distilling information to form a final decision requires the ability to lead the group to consensus and closure. Finally, the leader must help the team turn the decision they make into a specific plan and hold the team accountable for implementing it. When a team is facilitated through the planning and decision-making process, they are able to act with greater levels of commitment.
We have helped hundreds of leaders improve their facilitation skills. We teach the core behaviors needed to energize the group, keep the group’s members on track, and manage conflict and resistance. When leaders can master these facilitator behaviors, they become more successful with group decision-making, problem-solving, and planning. Contact CMOE to learn more about mastering the skills required for leading a group to solutions that have a long-term impact on the business.