Are You The Leader or The Facilitator?

Are you the leader or the facilitator? There’s nothing wrong with being either one. But if you think you’re a leader and you’re really a facilitator, you need to reexamine your roles and your goals. A leader is most focused on where a group is going, or as blogger John W. Richardson says, “the definition of leadership is to turn around and see if anyone is following you.” I’ve written before about the role of leaders and how everyone is a leader at some point. This post will discuss more about the role of the facilitator and will give you two simple tips that we use at Smith & Howard to get things done more consistently.

A facilitator helps the group reach the goals. Inherent in the role of facilitator is project and time management. The facilitator is all about getting things done. As that same blogger said about facilitators, “If you don’t have followers behind you but instead have a list of projects in front of you…” you’re a facilitator.

Smith & Howard, like any business, has its share of leaders and facilitators. And often, a leader in one area may take on the role of facilitator in a different group of which they are a member. This is why we provide some training and tools to help with time and project management. Like any such tools, each person uses those most applicable to their situation and personality. But we do ask that everyone at least try each tool to understand its usefulness. Here are two simple project and time management tools we like at S&H that I thought you might find helpful, too.

Our employees are coached by Mike Scott, who teaches about methods to create accountability with individuals and in organizations.

1. Get rid of the dozens of post-it notes that litter your desk and keep you from getting a firm handle on all the “little things” that come up during the day. We use an Information Transfer Form that is basically a blank lined sheet that you write down all the little things during the day that come up and will need to be taken care of at some point (whether today, next week or next year). At the end of the day, you take all of these “little things” and put them in your official project management system (for most of us, it is a system in Outlook and also in our individual and departmental goal sheets when appropriate).

2, Go to the SPA. I know what you’re thinking, but no. This is actually a sheet of paper that you complete at the end of the day that lists your most important projects for the next day (not including meetings and appointments). SPA stands for Strategic Planning Appointments. You’re setting a list of no more than six appointments with yourself to get important projects completed the next day. It’s important to do this at the end of the day so that the next day starts out with a clear plan.

While Mike Scott’s program is much more involved than these two simple tools, we find that these are among the most popular. They are truly brain-clearing, good-day launching tools that can help even the most organized person be a more effective facilitator.

Note: For the full article by John W. Richardson, visit his blog here.