Collective facilitation is about leading others in unadulterated conversation – true dialogue. Collective facilitation is acting on the principle of practice which states: For maximum effectiveness of intent, put your what before your how. As the facilitator leads others through the honor of this principle, he creates a productive flow in how we talk to each other. With the skills of a practiced facilitator, he helps make easy the process of interaction that does not ignore the difficult chapters necessary in the discovery of complete meaning in the collective story.
The skilled facilitator is a present, open-minded listener. A listener at this level of skill is in control in the flow of the collective voice – not at all a self-centered control, but an exhibition of commitment layered on a displayed control over his own behavior. This facilitator has recognized judgment as a distraction to authentic individual and collective purpose.
The level of facilitation described here is neutral; not invested with a personal stake that controls one’s behavior. As with Kajule in the previous section, the facilitator who has achieved the power of neutrality is acting confidently from a base of self-respect as she demonstrates a cohesive respect for all. She has respect for the larger experience that is unfolding.
Understanding is a choice to be present. To facilitate confidence, one must facilitate with confidence. This is done by the facilitator who is free of opinion. Opinions may be part of one’s experience, but they do not represent one’s authentic self. Opinions are mere droplets from the weak cloud of judgment. If allowed to continue, these droplets water our landscape just enough for the green; leaving us with shallow, unhealthy roots of understanding.
The collective facilitator is committed to strength. Committed to collective strength, the facilitator brings individual strength into conscious observation. Voice gives strength. The skilled facilitator creates the space for individual voice to flow and merge into collective voice.
Intentional neutrality opens the mind to understanding and allows us to take all things together. Open to understanding, we have made the choice to be present with what is unfolding. Committed to not judge, we give wings to individual voice and participate in the organic union of the one into many.
This is the facilitator. This is leadership.
For more like this and the developing series around the 7 skills, see: 21st Century Leadership Skills