What Skills are Needed to Bring Great Leadership to The Facilitator Role

How do you bring great leadership to the Facilitator Role?  The Facilitator Role is to create a collaborative arena for professionals to come together for a variety of reasons. It is not always easy for a group of diverse professionals to work together to gain and share skills and knowledge. Some people are going to be reluctant to share, where others may want to take too much time sharing their experience or issues.  In bringing great leadership skills to the Facilitator Role it is necessary to use a variety of skills so that the goals are accomplished seamlessly and everyone participates. Remember in the Facilitator Role you are not the expert on the subject, you are not a teacher nor are you there to impress the group with your great knowledge of the subject. You are there to be a neutral guide to maximum participation and best outcomes for everyone in the group..

Some Leadership Skills Used in the Facilitator Role:

  • The ability to keep everyone on track, working on the same problems / challenges using the same approach
  • Be sure the entire group participates
  • Make sure there is no verbal abuse so everyone feels safe sharing
  • Stay unbiased regarding the content
  • Use the group as a source of experience, knowledge and creativity
  • Practice and encourage active listening
  • Support an open minded approach to allow different points of view
  • Summarize the results of the session for the group
  • Be a guide in the making and implementation of decisions
  • Ensure that participants received quality results


Check Your Ego at The Door When in The Facilitator Role

Being a great leader in the Facilitator Role means leaving your ego at the door.  In the Facilitator Role you are there to provide opportunities for the participants to share and achieve the desired results of the group. This is why, to be effective in the Facilitator Role, you cannot bring your ego to the show, so let go of the need for power. As a leader who is used to taking charge this may be difficult. Being effective in the Facilitator Role your power comes from empowering the participants. By using questions and negotiating skills you allow them to reach their own conclusions. In the Facilitator Role, you will be using your leadership skills and applying them a little differently. One of the most important skills you will use in the Facilitator Role is your knowledge of power dynamics in a group. Just as you must check your ego at the door, so should the group.  As a great leader in the Facilitator Role you must encourage the use of tools and processes so that the participants are able to work as equals for the best outcomes..


Keeping Balance in Process and Content – A Key Task in The Facilitator Role

Let’s define ‘Process’ and ‘Content’. ‘Process’ can be defined as how the group works together, which includes speaking respectfully to each other, how they solve problems, handling any conflicts, and how they make decisions.  ‘Content’ can be defined as the issue, topic or project the group is coming together to work on. Keeping Process and Content in balance guarantees a good outcome for your sessions. In the Facilitator Role you are responsible for making sure the group stays focused on the ‘Content’ while observing the ‘Process’. This means you keep the group on track and focused on their end result. In the Facilitator Role you are tasked with observing the dynamics of the group to maintain this delicate balance. When you accomplish this your sessions will be successful.


In The Facilitator Role You Provide Focus And Structure

It is important for the Facilitator Role to provide focus –you must ensure the group stays on track to achieve their objectives. All the participants should understand the results sought and be able to see them in a tangible form. The Facilitator Role is to ensure the group leaves with the knowledge of what it has accomplished. This might include the decisions made, ideas the group has come up with, and / or a list of priorities set.

In the Facilitator Role you are going to provide the structure for a successful session. A key component to this structure is to be flexible so that the structure doesn’t limit the ability to accomplish the end goals. Being flexible will keep things relaxed. Too much structure may make the participants feel tense.  If there is too much tension it will damage the productivity of the group as people may not feel safe enough to share their point of view. This will result in sub-par work and no one will be satisfied with the results. It is a good idea, in the Facilitator Role, to keep a balance of formality and fun.

Organization is key when you are in the Facilitator Role. This means your session has a beginning, a middle and an end.  The beginning is your opportunity to get the attention of the group and focus them on the task(s) at hand. Your beginning begins long before the actual time when everyone comes together as a group – your beginning starts well in advance of that. In the Facilitator Role you will be designing and planning everything from the agenda, who is invited, and the logistics, whether this is a face to face session or a longer program.

The middle of the workshop is when everyone gets down to business. During this time, in the Facilitator Role, you are keeping things flowing, managing time, keeping discussions on track, making sure everyone is participating and any other situations that may arise. In the Facilitator Role you are responsible for making sure that everyone is aware of what ideas have been recorded. The format will differ in face to face vs. virtual sessions. You must keep these ‘charts’ updated as things change so that participants can see their progress. In the Facilitator Role you must be able to help elicit any concerns or ideas, helping to prioritize and problem solve as the group progresses.


Just as in the beginning, setting the tone for your session, the ending connects the participants with what they have learned and agreed upon. In the Facilitator Role you want the participants to walk away with valuable information.  Summarize the content, restating the main accomplishments, Do a quick review of how the objectives have been met.

Very best wishes for your every success,