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Vol. 38, No. 4

12 key skills for facilitative leaders

by Jeffrey Cufaude

How can you improve as a facilitative leader? Start with these fundamentals:

  1. Use active listening skills, including paraphrasing, summarizing, reflecting, and questioning.
  2. Encourage and generate participative discussion in groups.
  3. Stimulate creative thinking through brainstorming/other idea-generation processes.
  4. Stimulate strategic consideration of alternatives and informed decision-making of appropriate choices.
  5. Manage contrasting perspectives that might result in conflict among members of a group.
  6. Intervene with individuals and groups without taking total control of the situation.
  7. Design meeting processes to accomplish a wide range of goals and objectives.
  8. Draw out others' opinions in an objective and nonjudgmental manner.
  9. Support teams in various stages of group development.
  10. Help individuals and groups reflect on their experiences and capture relevant learning.
  11. Lead/design inclusive group processes that honor different learning styles.
  12. Help shape more powerful and strategic questions for exploration.

(Note: For more information about facilitative leadership, please read Jeffrey Cufaude's "The bar leader as facilitator," also in this issue.)


Jeffrey Cufaude

For more than 20 years, Jeffrey Cufaude has been an architect of ideas, helping individuals and organizations create more compelling possibilities through his staff leadership, consulting, speaking, and writing. He spoke on facilitation at the 2013 ABA Bar Leadership Institute and will be the closing session speaker at this year's BLI. Learn more at or follow Jeffrey on Twitter, @jcufaude.