Facilitative Leadership
by: Jarvis Windom

One of the mistakes dictators make is believing their own press reports.  They think that the bigger they are, to more they know and the more they should control others.  In reality, leadership has more to do with influencing resources.  The higher I move up in leadership, the more resources I have.  The greater the leaders responsibilities, the more he perceives the worth of each small follower.

This is facilitative leadership.  Our job is to help those I lead release as much of their potential as possible.  I do not do the work but others do it under my leadership.  This is a sound biblical principle. "he gave some (leaders) as apostles, and some (leaders) as prophets,  and some (leaders) as evangelists, and some (leaders) as pastors and teachers, for the equipping (empowering) of the saints for the work of service" (Eph. 4:11-12)  God never intended these to be a list of servitude from the top-down or for those godly leaders to lord over their charges.  The principle was to equip them to do the work that must be done.

Bubbles in a pan come from the bottom and rise to the top and burst forth.  Facilitative leadership precludes dictatorial leadership.  Another form of the dictatorial style of leadership is what I call the "apostolic" view of decision making;  "I know the answers because I have been given special insight and charge over the church.  I have been given this position, therefore I will determine the direction.  I am the leader and I know best".  It amazes me that these people ever get into power.  Actually there are an extreme number of think less sheep that seem to love this style.  

Often these corporate dictators surround themselves with yes men who would submit to their domineering style.  I've even seen these dictator types in my church past, crash and burn in moral failure.  Even though they can control other people, they seem to not be able to control their own passions.  "It has been decided" is one of my favorite phrases.  It communicates that a decision was made that I had nothing to do with and now I can do nothing about it.

The best does come from the bottom.  Where will the greatest ideas come from in our organization?  Who will pioneer them?  Where will our new thoughts originate?  History proves that the greatest strides forward come from "the radical fringe" as opposed to the institutional core.  Isn't Jesus and the Pharisees a good example.

Lets talk about organizational charts or typical organizational charts.  And lets talk about the inverted pyramid, with Christ at the bottom supporting the church.  To the elders among you.  I appeal as a fellow elder...Be shepherds of God's flock..not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock...Clothes yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:1-5).  If you must make a chart, turn it sideways so it's not viewed as the mighty pyramid.

----------)  ----------)...
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----------)                                        .               
                                                          --------------        Lead the charge type of organizational Chart

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But the best chart that describes "servant-leadership" style today that of Jesus Christ in the inverted pyramid, where in fact, everything rests on the shoulders of the leader.  Bear more and more burdens of the more and more people.

\                            /      The People
  \                        /
    \                    /
      \                /
        \            /

Wow!   I'll bet you think I will never get to the concept of "team leadership".  Facilitative leadership.  Dictators do not lead teams.  Leaders should lead.  Diplomacy and democracy in decision-making is the balance.  There is a need for a single person to be in charge as opposed to a committee.  But they are only there to facilitate teams for a specific department, project, and organization, or else chaos will come.  Facilitate teams but not leading teams.  Can you understand the difference.  In today's professional world it's called "Coaching".  Leadership is teamwork, coaching, creativity and the synergy of a group of people inspired by their leaders.  No one person has a corner on the truth.

I grew up in the apostolic style of leadership.  The apostolic style stands at the opposite end of the continuum.  There was a leader that saw his primary role as managing the resources of the team.  The apostle views truth as coming down from on high.  The apostle knows the battle plan and where things will go.  It is the team's responsibility to implement the dreams and visions which were singularly presented to the leader.  I think the age of the apostle - men like Peter and Paul, who did really receive divine inspiration - is over.

A leaders job today is to work together with his or her team, to draw out ideas and organize them.  The leader will ultimately have to steer the group into fulfilling their (not his) mission,  but the players should be determined together by the key players of the organization.  Much prayer should be spent by the leadership teams.  We aren't perfect and don't always make the right decisions,  but we can learn to manage better.  Discuss things and move ahead only if there is consensus.  If only one member opposes an idea, table it until later when more information can maybe change opinion.  Facilitate by; Pushing decisions down line.  Involve others as much as possible in key decisions.  Be a developer.  See people and the lowest members as their greatest resource for ideas that will make them - and their people -  successful.  Give the people space to make decisions.  Give them some money to implement those decisions. Let those who are responsible decide how the job will be done.  Praise that person or group when it turns out right.  Tell the people that you pray for them.  Tell the people that you love them. (Then do it.)  When is the last time your leader told you in a letter, that he prayed for you?  Check you last letters.

When the best leaders work is done the people will say, "We did it ourselves with God's help!"   The true leader will say,  "They did it themselves with God's help!"

Notice I didn't say "I" in the praise of the successes.  Notice I didn't say "I, as your leaders, and you all prayed and paid to me, to get this work that Jesus and I raised up, done".

I hope many are able to see the difference of facilitative leadership. Most of you do not, and have not experienced this yet.  Wake up!!! Wake up Please !!!

Is your Church Leading you Correctly?    Why do people follow other people?

Mistakes Leaders Make    Life Cycles of Organizations    Visionaries    How to put Mavericks in their place    Facilitative Leadership