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15 Facilitative Leadership Advantages and Disadvantages

Facilitative leadership is a style of leadership that is very people-centered. It creates results and drives up quality by creating, then supporting, a positive culture within the workplace. Achievement occurs through relational processes instead of authoritative statements and demands.

This leadership style focuses on creating effective group processes, positive teamwork, and change management within the workplace.

Just because there is a relationship between a leader and their team doesn’t mean there is a lack of expectations. Facilitative leaders must build trust. That comes from an ability to provide instructions which are consistent and clear. Leaders must also value the individual qualities of team members and encourage ongoing development.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of facilitative leadership to examine.

List of the Advantages of Facilitative Leadership

1. It provides a positive work environment.

When employees are involved in a positive work environment, it reduces the amount of turnover experienced by the employer. The primary reason why people stay at a company is that they like the people with whom they are working. At the other end of the equation, the primary reason why people quit their jobs is because they struggle to work with their direct supervisor. Facilitative leadership works to solve both of these problems.

2. It can reduce the effects of change.

Every workplace goes through a process of change eventually. Someone practicing the facilitative leadership style can help to guide their team through these changes with lower levels of stress and anxiety compared to the other styles. That is because these leaders focus on making sure everyone feels welcomed and happy at work. Even though there is still difficulty with the necessary changes, people who feel like they are important are more likely to stick things out.

3. It is a way to invite feedback.

Facilitative leadership invites their team to provide feedback about the unacknowledged items that lie just below the surface. It may include invisible beliefs, unconscious bias, or even different thinking patterns. Most teams need to discuss these under-the-surface topics to maximize their productivity. These leaders work with their team to identify these issues, create awareness for potential problems, and then speak with a truth that won’t hurt the feelings of everyone else.

4. It allows for a team to take ownership of a project.

When employees are directed to accomplish certain tasks, the amount of ownership they take in the process can be somewhat minimal. Through facilitative leadership, a team can receive the direction they need without feeling like they are being completed directed and micromanaged. That allows them to take ownership of the decisions they make, which creates more individualized responsibility within the team environment.

5. It operates from a position of restraint.

The goal of a facilitative leader is to maximize the number of contributions generated by the entire team. That means their first instinct is to operate from a position of restraint. They take a methodical approach to the decisions which need to be made to ensure the actions taken produce the best possible results. It is a process which prevents leaders from feeling like they are on an island, encouraging collaboration throughout the team to work smarter instead of harder.

6. It focuses on building up the capacities of individuals and groups.

Facilitative leaders are focused on more than just the immediate task that must be completed. They also focus on having their team learning and working together to help them become more productive in the future. This process occurs at the team level and the individual level. The goal is to solve future problems by working to solve current issues first. Over time, this allows more employees to achieve their long-term career goals when the consistent coaching is provided by this leadership type.

7. It is easier to manage conflicting opinions.

Facilitative leaders invite discussion when decisions need to be made. That gives them access to different opinions and perspectives that can lead to a more effective outcome. These discussions can generate many different conflicting opinions, which offers the potential of reducing team productivity. These leaders, through their active listening, are able to manage circumstances like these to keep the team moving forward, even if some people happen to disagree.

8. It creates a nonjudgmental workplace.

Facilitative leaders do an excellent job of drawing out the opinions of others in a way that is objective. People do not feel like they are being manipulated into their thoughts or actions with this leadership style in place. They also feel safe to share their own thoughts, even if they run contrary to what everyone else thinks or believes. One of the top priorities of this leadership style is to ensure that everyone feels like they are on equal footing.

9. It improves the learning processes of the workplace.

Adults tend to learn the best when they feel a need to learn something new. They are more engaged when they have input into what they are doing, whey they do it, and how they can learn. Facilitative leaders focus on all these key points, ensuring that the content they offer through each interaction relates to the developmental changes that employees require. Over time, this process improves the overall learning environment, which helps workers retain more information.

10. It limits the size of groups.

Facilitative leaders look at the practical scenarios that are available in any given situation. They limit the number of people who are included in a group to ensure there is a maximum level of interaction available. They might organize a meeting by ensuring that everyone is positioned in a way that allows them to see and hear the information being presented. Even something simple, like calling each worker by their name, helps to foster the trust that these discussions help to create.

List of the Disadvantages of Facilitative Leadership

1. It can be difficult to deal with conflicts.

All relationships deal with conflict at some level. Leaders who prefer the facilitative style tend to be less proactive when dealing with issues that create conflict when compared to other leadership styles. That can reduce the effectiveness of a team’s productivity over time. It may also cause some employees to believe that their direct supervisor has a preference for other employees over them, which creates a further reduction in productivity.

2. It can create complacency in the workplace.

Facilitative leaders focus on providing positive feedback to their direct reports. Even if an incorrect decision is made, this leadership style puts a priority on discussing the positive outcomes instead of addressing the mistake. Over time, this approach can lead to poor individual performances because the employees have become complacent. There is no constructive criticism to encourage growth, so there is no reason to work hard at being better.

3. It takes more time to implement the fundamentals.

Facilitative leaders prefer to use active listening skills when they are engaging with their team. That means they will summarize what they’ve heard the other person say to ensure that they are on the same page. They will paraphrase items that may not be fully understood. Questioning and reflecting are also part of the process. When the entire group is involved, it may take more time to make a decision than it would with other leadership styles.

4. It may create opportunities for others to take over control.

Facilitative leaders want their team to take responsibility for the decisions they make. Although that is a positive attribute, it is also something that can be taken advantage of by someone who may have their sights set on a management position. This leadership style is discouraged from taking complete control of most situations, which means some leaders may be seen as ineffective. Should that occur, the leaders using this style may find it difficult to get work done.

5. It can create too many leaders, which leads to confusion.

When everyone is given an opportunity to take the lead on their own part of a project, a team may find itself with too many leaders. Should that occur, the end result is almost always confusion. Multiple “leaders” on a team may offer conflicting messages to everyone else. Some may even disagree with what the supervisor expects and encourage the team to abandon ship. For facilitative leaders to be effective, there must be a balance found between full inclusion and full control to benefit everyone.

These facilitative leadership advantages and disadvantages show that it is an effective style when change is taking place in an organization. Leaders using this style can encourage more teamwork by inviting more people into the process. Although these extra steps do take a chunk of time away from a team’s overall productivity, the positives of this leadership style often outweigh any disadvantages which may be present.

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