Facilitating Leadership

Siebens, Herman
December 2005
EBS Review;2005, Issue 20, p9
Academic Journal
Whoever is interested in the issue of business ethics or one of the related topics (such as quality of work and all its aspects, quality care, organisational culture, corporate governance) will soon be confronted with the crucial role of management, more especially the style of leadership applied by management. A lot of research is being executed to better understand the implications of leadership style and of specific characteristics (such as the differences between men and women, cultural differences, differences between different categories of organisations) of the performance of leaders and of their organisations. Also, over time, a lot of theoretical concepts (such as leadership based on virtues, on situational contingency, on transformation, on participation, on spirituality) have been developed to identify and prescribe the best performing style and to steer leadership towards the most effective and efficient one. Most of these concepts are linked to consultancy or vocational training. Often these concepts are based on theoretical research. And often there is a clear link to corporate responsibility. It is our opinion, however, that publications on leadership are approaching the issue in a predominantly philosophical or predominantly instrumental way. Therefore, the operational implications of leadership (from the concepts and models) are not yet clear for most people managing an organisation on a daily basis. In this paper we present a new approach to (concept of) leadership, based on practical experience as well as research literature, a new approach called 'FACILITATING LEADERSHIP'. The added-value of this new concept of leadership is its operational filling-in. More precisely we address: • A new view of leadership, which at the philosophical level might be close to concepts such as servant-leadership (Greenleaf, 1977) and 'level 5' leadership (Collins, 2001), but from a much more operational point of view, is rooted in group dynamics and techniques for meetings and is based on an axiology with four axes (agenda, procedures, group and intention) - 'facilitating leadership'. This new description enables us to make a clear break from the adverse elements of autocratic and psychopathic leadership styles; • An initial overview of the day to day competences needed as well as the practical obstacles arising when applying facilitating leadership; • The added-value of facilitating leadership, its ethical value and its relation to other ethical philosophies and concepts (such as the ethics of care and the stakeholder approach); • A first attempt to determine the corresponding profiles of the resulting organisational culture and co-worker and leadership development curricula.


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