We all tend to fit one of seven types of change leader, each of which indicates a different mix of leading with Head, Heart, or Hands. The sixth change leader type is the Facilitator, who has strong Heart and Hands capabilities.
Facilitators excel at Heart and Hands, and some say this is the best of all possible combinations, because they emphasize both task and process— they make change happen and care about how it happens. Facilitators foster change by encouraging involvement, using their listening skills, and adroitly resolving differences. At times, however, they may lose sight of the big picture and forget where the change process is ultimately leading. Facilitators may also be reluctant to provide constructive criticism for fear of disrupting relationships.
If you are a Facilitator, then more than any other style of change leader, you are adept at “facilitating,” making the change process smooth and helping others through it. You ensure that change happens day by day, and you notice how the change process affects everyone around you. You are participative, involved, and resourceful.
As a Facilitator, you have a handle on short-term change objectives, but you may not be as good at keeping an eye on long-term business goals. A broader, more strategic view will likely make you a more effective leader, helping ensure that the actions that make up the project plan align with the ultimate destination. At times you may need to step out of your comfort zone to confront people who are not behaving consistently with the change, and you’ll have to remember not to take on too many tasks yourself.
What makes Facilitators great leaders is that they tend to:
- Be participative, facilitative leaders
- Encourage others to work together toward goals in a structured and well-planned manner
- Be creative in partnering with others to invent new ways to accomplish objectives
- Demonstrate a can-do attitude and sincere willingness to roll up your sleeves and work alongside others to get things done
- Actively seek to provide people with the tools, training, and support they need
But what can mar your assets is that you sometimes:
- Focus more on the immediate what and how instead of the long-term and bottom-line why
- Can get caught up in the process of making the change happen and not devote time to periodically revisiting whether the plan and path still make sense as things evolve
- Can take on too much yourself
- May not aggressively coach and deal with underperformers and those resisting the change
- May not consistently appear savvy in communicating the vision, strategy, and business case
You’re an involved, resourceful, good listener, but your intense focus on the immediate can at times make you come across as too tactical or too hesitant to confront others. When you have a full understanding of these facets of your leadership style, you can go about maximizing the good and minimizing the weak spots.