So many of the best leaders in the world have what we call a “facilitative mindset.” As leaders, they work to facilitate conversations between people as a way of deepening trust and understanding. Such a mindset is committed to curious inquiry and seeks to excavate the meanings people have in their heads about ideas, concepts, and words.
If you have had experience with a facilitative leader, you know they lead primarily with questions more than answers. They find comfort in exploring all views and opinions, especially those that challenge the assumptions held deeply by others.
Developing a facilitative mindset is hard work, but you might want to give it a try. Start by running a meeting where you only ask questions and never make a statement. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and about your leadership style if you can engage exclusively in questions. You might even learn that you can make strong points, disagree vehemently and challenge more effectively through questions than statements. Once you master this exercise, you’re on your way toward a breakthrough in leadership. Facilitation, not direction, is the most powerful tool for leading others to great performance.