7 Important Facilitator Skills and How to Improve Them
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Facilitator skills are abilities you can use to encourage teamwork and help a group of professionals succeed. These skills include abilities that allow you to efficiently use resources and create new opportunities. If you're a leader or interested in becoming one, learning more about these skills can be beneficial. In this article, we explain what facilitator skills are, describe why they're important, provide examples, review the steps you can follow to improve them and offer helpful tips for highlighting your skills.
What are facilitator skills?
Facilitator skills are abilities and knowledge you can apply to help a group of people work more effectively together. These are important for those in leadership positions because it allows them to encourage teamwork and increase productivity. Facilitating improvement, collaboration, communication and productivity is an important part of being an effective leader.
Why are facilitating skills important?
Here are some reasons these skills are important:
Helping resolve conflicts
Leaders can use their skills to improve conflict resolutions and encourage communication. Helping team members work together and avoid issues can reduce conflict in the workplace. Facilitating working through issues can reduce the time the team spends on resolving them.
These skills are also important for motivating individuals to improve. Leaders can use their skills to encourage team members to make progress on their goals or advance their skills. This is important because it strengthens the team.
Part of facilitation is helping to engage employees and increase their professional satisfaction. Prominent leaders can inspire success by using their skills to motivate their team and inspire them to be successful. This includes using communication and positive role modelling to guide the team in the right direction.
7 examples of facilitation skills
These are some examples of facilitation skills:
1. Ability to set guidelines
One facilitator skill is the ability to set clear and effective guidelines for staff members. The structure of guidelines can allow team members to function within a group setting. Creating clear guidelines can ease the responsibility of deciding from team members and allow them to function more efficiently.
Neutrality is the ability to maintain an unbiased view during conflicts or disagreements. Leaders often act as mediators to facilitate conflict resolution, and that can make neutrality significantly important. When leading meetings and collecting ideas from the team, neutrality allows the leader to ensure each person feels heard and appreciated.
Encouragement is the skill that allows leaders to communicate with their team members and offer support and motivation. This is important because when working on tough projects or tasks, facilitators can use this skill to encourage and motivate their team members to persist. This can improve skills and boost morale within the team.
Preparedness is a facilitator skill because the leader can gather the materials and resources necessary for effective communications before meetings. Being prepared means understanding the parameters of interactions and researching effective solutions before approaching conflict. This facilitator skill allows leaders to better support their team members and group goals.
Flexibility is the ability to quickly adapt to changes in the situation or environment. This skill allows facilitators to support their teams even when things change quickly. This can help them adjust the mindset of the team and support them in working through challenging outlooks.
6. Active listening
Active listening is a communication skill in which you offer the speaker small indicators that you're listening to them. This can include nods, hand gestures and vocal cues. This is an important facilitator skill because it allows the leader to encourage communication and genuine sharing.
7. Time management
Time management is the ability to organise tasks and improve productivity. This is a facilitator skill because it allows the leader to improve enhance productivity and efficiency levels among the team. It also allows them to interact with each member regularly and review their team's progress regularly.
How to improve facilitation skills
You can follow these steps to improve your skills:
1. Develop your strengths
The first step to improving your facilitation skills is determining what your strengths are and developing them. If you're a strong communicator, you can capitalise on this and focus on using it to improve your other facilitation skills. For example, you can use your communication abilities to ask for feedback on your other facilitator abilities.
2. Seek opportunities to facilitate
Facilitation opportunities can present themselves often throughout the workday, and taking advantage of them can allow you to improve your facilitation skills. For example, when you notice team members having conflict, you can take advantage of the opportunity to improve your mediation and neutrality skills. Pay attention to your surroundings and note moments where you can be a great facilitator.
3. Think about progress frequently
Create a schedule for reviewing your facilitation skills and goals for improving them. Consider creating visual trackers that you can see daily. You can plan to review your progress each day or once a week. While reviewing your progression, consider more ways you can work on improving your facilitator abilities.
4. Manage your time effectively during every task
Time management can be an important component of facilitation and progress. For example, when your manager gives you an assignment due by the end of the day, break up the project into smaller tasks and give yourself a set amount of time to efficiently finish each one. The more effective you are at managing your own time, the better you can facilitate the time of an entire group of people.
5. Be flexible and adapt to change
When unexpected occurrences happen in your role, try to remain flexible. You can adapt to changes during the day when you understand that success does not always follow a precise plan. For example, when progress halts because of a change to a project, be flexible and make a new plan. A facilitator understands how to adapt to change to reach an end goal.
6. Practice empathy towards others
Empathy is a social skill that allows you to have compassion for what others are feeling. Practising empathy can directly contribute to the continuation of a halted project. For example, when a team believes a project could be better and is unsure about the final result, having compassion can make them feel understood. Showing your team that you understand their feelings may encourage them and allow for progress to continue.
Tips for highlighting facilitation skills
These are some helpful tips for highlighting your facilitation skills on applications and during the hiring process:
Facilitation skills for resume
Your resume is a perfect place to highlight your facilitation skills. You can include some of these skills in your resume skills section. Time management can be an exceptional skill to include here, for example. You can include other skills like encouragement and flexibility when describing your previous job history. For example: "Completed daily and weekly projects under strict deadlines while adapting to changes in plans."
Facilitation skills for cover letter
Including your facilitation skills in your cover letter is straightforward and can be an effective way to get an employer's attention. Think about the company where you are applying and include the skills you possess that they are seeking. If employers are looking for someone who can work under pressure while following strict guidelines, include your time management and flexibility skills.
If they are seeking someone that can manage a team, mention your ability to set goals and be encouraging to promote progress. Submitting a well-written cover letter that directly relates to the skills they need can help impress a potential employer.
Facilitation skills for the job interview
A job interview is typically the first chance you have to talk in-depth about your facilitation skills. A successful facilitator is prepared and manages their time effectively, so showing up to the interview early is a helpful first step in displaying these skills. You can continue to show your facilitation skills by actively listening to the interviewer starting the moment the interviewer walks into the room.
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