In our 2012 Newsletter series, we took an in-depth look at the Top 20 Characteristics of a “Best Boss”. Our conclusion was that “Best Bosses” exemplify a leadership style that we call “Facilitative-Relational Leadership” (also referred to as “Transformational Leadership” by others [e.g., Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978; Zohar, 2002]). Facilitative-Relational Leaders focus on making it easier for employees to express their views and accomplish their objectives and they do so by manifesting the 20 characteristics that we have identified. Leaders of highly effective organizations understand that the type of leadership that they show and that they help develop throughout their organization can have a significant impact on results. Consequently, they work to personally model this style and simultaneously develop those skills in the larger management team throughout the organization.
So as a quick review, what are these characteristics?
- Excellent communicator
- Holds himself and others accountable for results
- Enables success
- Motivates others
- Cares about the success of others
- Honest and trustworthy
- Shows trust by delegating effectively
- Fair and consistent
- Competent and knowledgeable
- Rewards/recognizes success
- Leads by example
- Loyal to employees
- Good problem solver
- Team builder
- Flexible and willing to change when necessary
- Good planner/organizer
- Shows respect to others
- Good decision maker
- Deals effectively with conflict
By utilizing these skills, Facilitative-Relational Leaders attempt to develop a relationship with employees and other team members that creates an environment of safety, where others are willing to show initiative by speaking up and contributing to solutions. They attempt to consciously develop both the skills and the self-confidence of all employees. They evaluate decisions against the mission of the organization and are willing to change course if necessary.
Effective organizational leaders understand that Facilitative-Relational Leadership is almost always acquired as opposed to something you are born with, so they provide training and coaching opportunities for all managers to learn why this facilitative style is effective and how to use the skills successfully. They also give opportunities for managers/leaders to practice the skills with feedback so that they can effectively implement them in the workplace. Leaders of effective organizations also understand that people need feedback on both successes and failures, so they utilize both formal and informal opportunities to provide that feedback.
What's the point?
Facilitative-Relational Leadership is a package of characteristics and skills that, when utilized, significantly increase the success and effectiveness of organizations.