The value of being a facilitative leadership is becoming increasingly clear to today’s organizational community. A stream of recent business books has stressed the need for organizations to change fundamentally the way they operate (e.g., Hammer & Champy, 1993; Katzenback & Smith, 1993). The authors of the books have called for a business revolution in which decisions are pushed down in organizations and employees at all levels are given more control over their work.

The suggested changes make sense. People who have the knowledge should be given the control. In general, today’s workforce is better educated, more knowledgeable and possesses better interpersonal skills than was true of workforces in the past. Given these attributes, management feels comfortable turning to lower-level personnel for valuable insight. Their knowledge and exposure to different aspects of the organization provide a fresh perspective and innovative ideas.

Many organizations have accepted the empowerment prescriptions set forth in these new business books. They have wholeheartedly embraced teamwork, empowerment and re-engineering. But, success has been hard to come by. In 1995, Champy, who co-authored the popular book, Reengineering the Corporation, authored a follow-up book, titled Reengineering Management. In it, he reported that re-engineering efforts have been less successful than anticipated because he and others had not considered fully the key role that managers at all levels have to play in the re-engineering effort, if it is to succeed.

Traditional managers and supervisors, afraid of losing power and control, or simply lacking the knowledge of what it means to be a leader in the new organizational environment, often stop their re-engineering efforts short. Changing the face of an organization involves changing people, especially those who have been directing others for years. Not only do managers/supervisors have to loosen their controls, but a knowledgeable workforce must be ready to grasp and utilize the accompanying empowerment.

When we attempt to create an empowered organization, we are asking a large segment of people to throw off their traditional methods of leadership in favor of new, more facilitative leadership. This has to happen if change in a team-based organization is to occur. But, before traditional leaders can make this change, they need to know what facilitative leadership is and how it differs from what they have been practicing in the past.

marskitMars Surface Rover is a leadership experience that teaches new or experienced leaders the concepts and advantages of collaborative leadership. Using K’NEX® pieces, you’ll construct a Rover. This simulation focuses on the vital skills of communication, decision-making, influence, change management and more.

Want to learn more about the importance of facilitative leadership? Check out our upcoming leadership seminars!

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