Monday, 5 January 2015

Facilitative Leadership

Aschauerte (2011)
Facilitative leadership is a values-based model developed by Roger Schwarz (2002), a trainer and teacher. It is a supportive philosophy suited to mentoring and developing adults. Moore (2004, 231, citing Rees, 1998, p. 18) defines it as involving “followers as much as possible in creating the group’s vision and purpose, carrying out the vision and purpose, and building a productive and cohesive team”.

Schwarz (2002) notes that facilitative leaders can be informal leaders in the group; that position power is not a defining requirement of the style. This is akin to the idea of Acts of Leadership (Dourado, 2007).

Acts of leadership can be taken anywhere, at any time, by any person in an organisation (Dourado, 2007), and that “a vibrant organization is full of acts of leadership” (p. 164). Great results happen when people throughout the organisation act in a 'leaderful' way. We can individually chose to take leadership action, even though we are not the ‘official’ leader.

There are four underpinning values which need to be met for the facilitative leadership style: “valid information, free and informed choice, internal commitment and compassion” (Moore, 2004, p. 230):
  1. “Valid information” is where access to information is open to all participants. In my classes I encourage students to bring alternative views for open-minded discussion
  2. “Free and informed choice” is enabled by access to the best information available, within known constraints. Students are taught to gather evidence to develop sound arguments
  3. “Internal commitment” is the next step; that with the best information, the ‘best’ decisions can be made. As a result, participants commit to the outcome. This is when learning happens.
  4. “Compassion” in this model is open-mindedness, the ability to suspend judgement and listen to ideas. This too is a necessary requirement for learning.

The facilitative leadership style sits well with teaching and learning.


  • Aschauerte (2011). My Graphic Facilitation Journey. Retrieved 5 January 2015 from
  • Dourado, Phil (2007). The 60 Second Leader: Everything you need to know about leadership, in 60 second bites. UK: Capstone Publishing Ltd
  • Moore, Thomas L. (2004). Facilitative Leadership: One Approach to Empowering Staff and Other Stakeholders. Library Trends, Summer 2004, Volume 53, issue 1 (pp. 230-237)
  • Schwarz, Roger (2002). The Skilled Facilitator: A comprehensive resource for consultants, facilitators, managers, trainers and coaches (revised edition). USA: Jossey-Bass

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