The Role of Session Leader
April 5, 2012 21 Comments
You can complete a project without facilitation, but you could also cut your own hair.
You have a multitude of tasks to perform during the workshop. Success of the facilitator’s effort is dependent upon your skill, knowledge, and abilities as a session leader. The session leader’s role includes both the traditional role of “Facilitator” discussed below and the role of “Methodologist” discussed on the next page.
Context is the key responsibility of the session leader, frequently called a facilitator—responsibilities include:
- Actively listening to the discussion and challenging assumptions.
- Creating synergy by focusing the group and using your facilitation skills to enhance communications.
- Ensuring that all participants have an opportunity to participate.
- Explaining and enforcing the roles.
- Keeping the group on track.
- Managing the documenters and the documentation process.
- Observing the group interactions and adjusting when necessary.
- Questioning to achieve clarity—aiding communication between participants and yourself.
- Recognizing disruptive behavior and creating positive corrections.
- Working to resolve conflicts that arise.
Your role is to create an environment where every participant has the opportunity to collaborate, innovate, and excel. Observing the team’s progress helps you understand the dynamics of the group and how your approach enhances or detracts from the final output.
The Group Dynamics
- Ask yourself the following questions while observing the group:
- How do they communicate? Eye to eye contact? Soft spoken? Yelling? Gestures? etc.
- In what order do they speak? Primary, secondary, who backs who up? Who always gets interrupted?
- Who appears to influence group direction the most?
- Who are these people talking to? Are they looking for supporters? Do they attack certain people or groups?
The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).
- Facilitate Meaning, Not Words (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- How to Facilitate Brainstorming (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- Five Ways to Facilitate Quiet People and Get Them to Participate More Fully (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- How to (Not) Gesture while Facilitating (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- Considerations on How to Facilitate between Europeans and Asians (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- 15 Fun and Quick Tips to Help You Become a More Successful Facilitative Leader (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)