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  Skill of the Week

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0129 | December 2, 2003 | 9,000 Subscribers

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picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.From the Publisher: 

Dear friends,

This week's article, "Is Charismatic Leadership Good for Groups?," was inspired by a dialogue with my friend, Lynn Goldhammer
, a Lieutenant Commander and Quality Performance Consultant in the Coast Guard. Our discussion got me questioning the value of strong, forceful, and charismatic leadership in the world of facilitation and training. It occurs to me as a facilitator, that at some times and in some places, this trait might get overused. This article explores when strong leadership may and may not be useful. We look forward to your comments!

FacilitatorU News

In an effort to minimize FacilitatorU.com news in this ezine, we're starting a new publication called "FacilitatorU.com News" to keep interested readers apprised of developments, new classes, tools, resources, ideas, etc. at FacilitatorU. Please click here and send a blank email to subscribe. The "News" will go out no more than once per week.

1. Becoming a Learning Facilitator Teleclass. We still have plenty of room in our new Learning Facilitator R&D teleclass. This class will help teachers and trainers develop and nurture "learning environments" and employ new "learning models and strategies" for their students. It starts next Monday so if you're interested, please register today. Full details at the end of this issue.

. Teleclasses. Please click here to view our schedule of teleclasses offered at FacilitatorU.com.

If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an article for consideration, please email your ideas. How are we doing with this ezine in terms of quality and content? We'd love to hear your comments, suggestions, and ideas.

Have a great week!
Steve Davis


Relating Skill

Is Charismatic Leadership Good for Groups?
A critical look at the impact of charisma on group process.

The Point

Clearly we're all drawn to charismatic leaders. Whether we're talking about political leaders like JFK, public speakers like Zig Ziglar, or trainers like Anthony Robbins, how does the charisma or strength of a group leader impact a group, pro or con?

We've become increasingly conditioned to being entertained, via television dramas, commercials, movies, and talk shows. The messages are getting shorter, more provocative, and persistent, in attempts to get our attention in the rising sea of information. A dead pan speaker, no matter how relevant and important the content of his message, is unlikely to be heard.

I've seen coaches and trainers who actually specialize in the "entertainment factor" to create more success in their workshops and events. After all, we're competing with Hollywood at every turn with hundreds of cable and satellite TV stations, flashy audio and video enabled Internet, etc.

Further, we've been conditioned to sit and listen to the "teacher," "leader," "speaker," up in front of the room and view her as the expert, authority, guru, etc. If this is true, I can't help but wonder, from the perspective of a facilitator, about the impact a charismatic group leader has on the empowerment of her group.

Will her charisma rub off on her group and connect them to their power? Or will her charisma inspire them to just sit, enthralled and entertained for the moment, having little impact on the work "they," and they alone, came together to do?


This article was inspired by the following comment I received from Lynn Goldhammer, a fellow facilitator:

"I'm wondering if [I can learn to] be a less obtrusive facilitator when I'm supposed to be facilitating... I just realize that people need to talk and have discussions, and that isn't happening in this high tech world. So, I go in and start conversations, but am always up in front directing them. Hmmmm. I'm wondering if that is always best? If maybe some situations will benefit from me sitting down, and facilitating from within the group even when I'm not part of the group or contributing my thoughts. Does that make sense? Less controlling of the flow, while still keeping folks rounded up and moving... (a cowgirl versus a dog (leash) walker?)"

This comment got me thinking about the potential downsides of what we often consider to be strong or charismatic leadership on the health of group process. I did a little research on the Internet and found nothing regarding the downside, problems, or harm that might come as a result of strong, charismatic, even "forceful" leadership. It seems that according to most people, this is a commodity we can't get enough of.

I've heard Charisma defined as a potent combination of inspiration and enthusiasm. To inspire means to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence on others, and enthusiasm is a strong excitement of feeling. There's no question that inspiration and enthusiasm serve the collective good of groups at one time or another. And perhaps that's the key. Just as there's a time and a place to "use" charismatic, strong, or forceful leadership, there may very well be times when it could also hinder your group's purpose.

Some Thoughts on Using Charismatic Leadership as a Facilitator:

- If you've been able to help get a group to openly dialogue around an issue they've committed to work with, then you've done your job as group leader and it's time to get the heck out of the way, at least for the moment. And it might well be that your charisma sparked the passion that got them started. Great job! Now turn it off and sit down!

- Though I prefer to be a bit of an introvert, I like to think that I can be a bit charismatic at times. (Though I'm ready to admit this could be a complete fantasy of mine.) Whatever the case, I actually don't mind being in the background and know I'm being a successful facilitator when I've worked myself out of a job, at least momentarily, and my group's cruising on its own.

- For those facilitators who are charismatic and great at motivating groups to participate and engage, that very strength can work against you if you don't know how or when to get out of the spotlight. I believe this is ego work for the dynamic facilitator. See your charisma as a tool and learn when and when not to use it. Once you've stimulated and inspired your group, exercising your charisma may disempower them. A facilitator who has her group's best interest in mind will give them room to develop and exercise their own charisma.

- Silence is a much underestimated skill in this arena. And yes, sitting down and facilitating from within the group, literally, can work as well.

- I'm sure there's a lot more to be said on this subject (as he turns his charisma on low), but let's hear some of your ideas. Please
email them to me.

Would you like to republish this or other articles from the journal? You are free to do so providing you follow these guidelines.


Are you a strong and charismatic group leader? Do you know when to turn it off? How can you better use this skill to empower your groups? We'd love to hear what you come up with. Please email us your comments.

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Steve Davis helps facilitators, coaches, consultants and leaders who are struggling to
present themselves confidently, empower their groups, enhance their facilitation skills,
and build their businesses on and off line. Please email or call me at 805-489-4130 to schedule a Free exploratory session, or to share your suggestions and ideas for the journal. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. If you'd like to reprint this article in another publication, you are free to do so providing you follow the guidelines here. Thanks for reading!

In the Spotlight

Becoming a Learning Facilitator Teleclass

This course will explore how to make the leap from conventional teaching to the skills, attitudes, and practices necessary to create and facilitate a learning environment.

How the 4-Day Format/Training works...

1. You dial into your class every day for 4 days (Mon-Thurs) for a 60-minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
2. You work with a learning guide during the course (about an hour a day of study and field work) which you complete by Thursday, or sooner if you wish.
3. You will have the opportunity to discuss issues on the subject matter with the instructor and your classmates via an online listserve during the course.
4. During the week, you may access the instructor via email for help or situational questions.

Training Agenda...

Here's what you'll be learning and doing during this course...

Exploring the Landscape of Learning

- What is "Learning?" Who Learns? Who teaches?
- Review distinctions between Teaching, Training, Mentoring, Coaching, and Facilitating
- The Content/Process Paradox
- The medium is the message.

Changing the Paradigm
- Shift from Director to Guide
- "Ability to do" vs. Info delivery
- Students remember their experiences far more than information
- Operating in Full-Duplex: Courting student interest and passion.
- Shifts for students and for teachers
- Relating to shifts in worldviews
- Lessons learned from online communities
- From curriculum development to needs assessment

Becoming a Learning Facilitator
- Characteristics
- Core Values
- Inner Shifts Required
- Methods
- Tools and Tactics

Learning Models
- Temperaments
- VAK Attack
- Multiple Intelligences
- Habit Model
- Brain-Based Learning
- Control Theory
- Left/Right Brain
- Communities of Practice

Learning Strategies
- The Art of the Question
- Learning Cycle
- Open Space Technology
- Instructional Events

Benefits from participating in the training...

- Enhance your love of teaching and training
- Learn new ways to get your students excited about learning again.
- Review 7+ different models of teaching and learning.
- Learn to package your material in a way that better relates to your students.
- Learn to connect with your students in a way that's rewarding for you both
- Become a better listener and communicator.
- Release the burden of trying to "make" learning happen in your classroom.
- Collaborate and learn from a community of your peers, who are all passionate about empowering groups.


This is the first run of this class and will be somewhat of an R&D nature, meaning that we may be experimenting with new ideas and approaches and will be looking for you to be involved in its creation. Therefore, the cost of this training is discounted from our standard fee of $89 to $49. Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

This class begins December 8, 2003 from 1:00-2:00PM EST. It will meet daily for 60 minutes from Monday through Thursday, the 11th. Because this is an R&D class, it's possible that we will have an optional meeting on Friday as well depending on our progress and student interests.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the training described above, you also receive:
- Free access to the participant-only website (lots of resources, forms, etc.).
- Free access to the RealAudio version of the training.

Please click here to register. Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course and free article bank. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served.

Click here to Register

100% Money-Back Guarantee
If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this package, simply email us with a request to refund/credit your credit card in the full amount and we will do so immediately. It's our policy to do this and we honor this in every single case. (Why? Because we are sensitive to the fact that you are buying an e-course/product from us and we feel that if this package isn't EXACTLY what you expected or wanted, that you should be able to get 100% of your money back. This policy completely removes the buying risk for you and keeps our customer-satisfaction rates extremely high.)


Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look for your next issue on December 9, 2003.


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