One of the areas that I sometimes struggle with as a leader is when to be more direction versus when to be more facilitative.
In general, I tend to be a very facilitative leader. I’m most comfortable asking questions and helping people find their own way, rather than giving them the answers and directing them where they need to go and when.
Certainly, I recognize that there are times when being directive is required, and I can do this fairly well.
My challenge, however, is given the opportunity, and seeing that a facilitative response would work, I tend to always gravitate in that direction. I want those I work alongside to be the decision-makers in what they learn, and how they go about it. I’m a firm believer that where we start, and where we hope to end, are key to life-long learning and leading. I’m less concerned with the steps and processes that people take to get from A to B, then that they do, in fact, reach agreed-upon benchmarks.
I’m most comfortable with leading in this way, because I believe it provides most with the positive accountability they need in order to feel connected to their goals. I think it also allows for the building of successes off of failures, without the “over the shoulder” stress that tends to be a result of micromanagement.
I do understand the potential downsides to taking on this approach, however. I’m less likely to know if someone is about to take a misstep in a direction that I could help them avoid. I also have to work harder to anticipate potential results of the pathways that others take, and I need to be open to a pathway being taken that I would not choose if I were engaging in a process myself.
So, when things don’t go as planned, and I need to work with others to adjust something to move forward, I recognize that I might be more effective if I was better balanced between my directive and facilitative styles. That’s something I have to work on. Still, I do feel best about trending towards facilitative, knowing that in most cases, the end results are better for people and the process, even if sometimes the product needs to be further developed!