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Team Leadership: Process Facilitation and Styles

1. Overview

  • Specific competencies are required to effectively run meetings
  • Team leaders should follow basic and essential meeting facilitation activities to ensure smooth running meetings
  • Team leaders can use various tools to promote effective facilitation
  • The appropriate leadership style is situational and depends on the team’s readiness (level of development), but…
  • The leader’s facilitation behaviors determines how effectively they will work with the team
  • Democratic behaviors are fostered by using specific tips

2. Team Leader's Meeting Facilitation Competencies

  • Distinguishes process methods from content methods
  • Manages relationship and prepares thoroughly
  • Uses time and space intentionally
  • Evokes participation and creativity
  • Honors the group and affirms its wisdom
  • Maintains objectivity
  • Reads the underlying dynamics of the group
  • Releases blocks to the process
  • Adapts to the changing situation
  • Assumes responsibility for the group journey
  • Produces powerful documentation
  • Demonstrates professionalism, self-confidence, and authenticity
  • Maintains personal integrity 

3. Basic and Essential Meeting Facilitation Activities


  • Basic:
    • Organize and direct: Provide structure, encourage; participation; reflect back to the team; move the team forward
  • Essential:
    • Prepare the room/setting: Ensure that everyone can see each other; Distinguish the facilitator’s seat; Allow team members to freely choose seating; Adjust spacing/seating to meet needs - i.e., pull chairs into a circle
    • Begin the meeting: Make introductions (appropriate icebreakers); provide updates; agree on objectives, identify expectations, and address concerns; agree on agenda and allocate time; agree on process (by agenda item) and check for concerns; define roles
    • End the meeting: Review decisions and action plans; schedule next meeting and agenda; critique meeting

4. Best and Worst Meeting Facilitation Practices


  • Best Practices
    • Carefully assess needs
    • Work hard to stay neutral
    • Use a wide range of process tools
    • Creates an open and trusting atmosphere
    • Helps participants understand why they are there
    • Listen intently to fully understand
    • Use simple direct language
    • Work to make participants the center of attention
  • Worst Practices
    • Want to be the center of attention
    • Don’t check for team members’ concerns
    • Fail to listen
    • Often lose track of key ideas
    • Passive about process
    • Put people down
    • Defensive over minor process issues
    • Take poor notes which leads to poor decisions
    • Push ahead with irrelevant agenda

5. Tool for Effectively Facilitating a Meeting


  • Set meeting objectives
  • Follow an agenda
  • Set ground rules
  • Gain consensus
  • Use a parking lot (for items team members bring up that are not on the agenda)
  • Track/prioritize conversation
  • Use mirror technique for complex concepts (repeat message to check for accuracy; have team member restate/clarify)
  • Manage difficult personalities

6. Situational Leadership Styles

  • Styles are based on directive behaviors (focus on getting tasks done) and supportive behaviors (keeping people happy)
  • Appropriate style depends on team readiness which ranges low to high levels of development (competence/ commitment)

7. Leader's Facilitation Behaviors

8. Leader's Facilitation Tips