Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

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

The Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library
Questions? Ask us.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The George Washington University