Does Your Leadership Style Affect Your Facilitation Style?

Does Your Leadership Style Affect Your Facilitation Style?

Facilitation keeps the participant or attendee of your meeting, training or program as the focus of what is happening; rather than the spotlight on the facilitator. With this in mind, an online leader should be very thoughtful in selecting their style of online facilitation. Leaders can gain insight into their facilitation style by learning more about their leadership style. Any leader’s facilitation style is based on variables; some are internal and some are external. Internal factors include beliefs, communication ability, and valuing others.

What Is Your Leadership Style?

Knowing your leadership style can help you choose a suitable facilitation style. Styles of leadership differ from person to person and involve your style of implementing strategies, how you motivate others and how you provide direction to followers which will be important external factors affecting your success or failure as an engaging and effective online facilitator. Some styles of leadership to study are:

  1. Paternalistic – As you might have guessed, the paternalistic style of leadership is becoming a “father figure” for your followers – whether family or work-oriented. The paternalistic style of leadership promotes trust and loyalty and followers tend to become committed to the person.
  2. Laissez-faire – A leadership style where the rule of thumb is “hands off.” This leader lets the workers and subordinates make all the decisions and only offer support when it’s requested. The Laissez-faire worker/leader relationship may be effective in certain cases – such as in an environment where the workers are very skilled and/or educated and where the followers can be trusted.
  3. Authoritarian – Strictness is the style of this type of leader. They may micromanage because they prefer to keep close control over their followers. Policies and procedures are the main emphasis of the Authoritarian leadership style and the focus is on efficiency.
  4. Democratic – Decision making is shared with followers in this type of leadership style. Promoting the desires and needs of group members is paramount and the leader believes that everyone should play a part in every decision made.
  5. Transformational – This type of leader has the objective of transforming his or her followers. These leaders may be very charismatic (such as evangelists or political leaders) and meet challenges with excitement and a clear purpose. They’re great communicators and may often be found in top roles of leadership.
  6. Transactional – The focus of this leadership style is on motivating through rewards or forms of punishment. These leaders recognize good performances and may provide material or psychological rewards for effort. They may also use corrective intervention if they feel that a worker’s performance isn’t up to par. Transactional leaders are good at enforcing rules and laws.

Leadership Style v.s. Facilitation Style

When you know your style of leadership, you can better have a vision of the online facilitation work you are suited for.

“Facilitation styles are either direct (i.e., telling or selling) or indirect (i.e., coaching and encouraging while staying focused on the students). The role that a facilitator chooses directly dictates the style of facilitation used.” (source)

When you have extremely motivated students, evidence seems to suggest direct facilitation styles can be very effective. As a new online facilitator, one must practice a variety of behaviors and styles to learn what works with different groups and one must focus on beginning to recognize changes in the group dynamic, while maintain a broad and flexible repertoire of activities that are appropriate for nearly any situation.

Knowing your leadership style is especially helpful if you’re considering making a career change into online facilitation or leadership services. When your participants are taking your programs, classes or trainings, you will want to get to know the various leadership styles and begin to mold your facilitation style to align with your natural leadership style.


Very best wishes for your every success,


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