Leadership style depends largely on the flow of content: Directive—one-way, Consultative—equal partner in content, and Exploratory—facilitative, not adding content.


A leader who predominantly gives direction and guidance with little participation or content added by the group characterizes this leadership style. Directive leadership is appropriate when the purpose is to share information quickly and clearly, such as briefings, staff meetings, symposiums, etc.

ConsultativeLeadership Style Depends on Source of Ideas and Solution Ownership

This leadership style is characterized by consulting with colleagues and subordinates in an open and respectful, not manipulative manner, during the meeting. Consultative leadership is appropriate when the purpose is to have the group make decisions with contributions and equal participation from the leader.


This pure and optimal facilitation style should be the predominant approach used for task-building and assignment meetings. In an exploratory approach, the leader is neutral in terms of contributing content to the meeting but is responsible for providing and managing the technique and agenda. In many task-related meetings, an outside facilitator is used to provide the exploratory leadership while the business owner participates with a consultative leadership style.

No One Style

There is neither single ‘right’ answer nor one right leadership style.  The appropriate style is dependent on the particular type of meeting situation and nature of the group. Leaders of teams that work well together can use the exploratory style more frequently. Leaders with contentious groups either need to be directive or employ a neutral facilitator for their meetings. Managing meetings is much like managing people—be flexible and use the most appropriate style depending on the situation.


The same skills are required to lead a meeting as are required to facilitate a meeting.  Keep the following guidelines in mind, especially when leading:

  • Plan and choose use the most appropriate leadership style before you get into the meeting. For leading without facilitation, you will probably by either directive or consultative. If you are a facilitator, be consistent with being exploratory.
  • Let the group know at the outset of the meeting which style of leadership you intend to use. They will respond positively if they know how to work with the style and role that you have chosen.
  • If you are being consultative, use facilitation skills to get the group to participate as much as possible.
  • Be aware of the influence you and your ideas have on the group. When you are not neutral, as when you are voicing an opinion about content, the members listen to your ideas. If they are dropping out, back off and become more exploratory.
  • A good meeting leader may be a good facilitator with an opinion, but be careful. When leading content is appropriate, follow the guidelines above as well as general guidelines for managing people. Lead, but never continually remind the group that you are the leader.


Finally, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on providing methodology. Each student thoroughly practices methodology and tools before class concludes. Additionally, some call this immersion. However, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Become Part of the Solution While You Improve Your Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology Skills

Take a class or forward this to someone who should. MG RUSH Professional Facilitation Training provides an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, 40 CDUs from IIBA, and 3.2 CEUs. As a member of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), our Professional Facilitation. Therefore, our training aligns with IAF Certification Principles and fully prepares alumni for their Certified Professional Facilitator designation.

Furthermore, our Professional Facilitation curriculum immerses students in the responsibilities and dynamics of an effective facilitator and methodologist. Because nobody is smarter than everybody, attend an MG RUSH  Professional Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology workshop offered around the world, see MG RUSH  for a current schedule.

Go to the Facilitation Training Store to access our in-house resources. You will discover numerous annotated agendas, break timers, and templates. Finally, take a few seconds to buy us a cup of coffee and please SHARE.

In conclusion, we dare you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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