One may wonder why in my Leadership Quadrant post I mentioned that there is more room for people to be leaders when based on facilitative leadership thinking. This is explained by the two dimensions…
When leadership is based on power, this promotes hierarchical formal power relationships; only so many can report to a leader under this arrangement. An organization may choose a flatter structure, but ultimately decision-making authority rests in appointed or elected people at the top of a pyramid structure. Only people in these positions get to wield authority.
When directing is the preferred mode of operating, there is a limit to how many directors one can have. So even though a Utopian Benevolent Dictatorial Leader wants to help others, there is very little room for others to lead in their viewpoint. They have a sincere belief they know what is best.
In “Becoming a Technical Leader: An Organic Problem-Solving Approach” by Gerald Weinberg, he talks about how anyone can become a leader through helping others. This is at the core of Servant Leadership and when this is done in a participative manner, it becomes facilitative in nature. Leadership derived in this manner happens irrespective of what formal structures are in place. Everyone has expertise and can lend assistance in some area and thus at any time one can be a leader; authority is derived from people’s sustained willingness to follow.
Leaders that then get appointed or elected to some formal authority role (supervisor, manager, etc.) that were already using a facilitative leadership approach gain much more capacity to get things done; people were already willingly giving them authority, the new position just confirms that belief. As long as the individual doesn’t switch too far to other extremes in the dimensions, they should be able to sustain this willingly given authority.