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Part Five:The Tensions of Leader as Facilitator

Updated: Jan 22, 2022

Task Completion.......Relational Wealth

Those two words and the tension that comes with them can be wrapped up in one word which is sometimes loved, sometimes not loved, sometimes misused and sometimes effective. It all depends on where you sit on the line of tension! The word is delegation.

Recently I was approached in a crowded area to take on a particular task that needed to be completed. It needed someone to own it and make it happen. The context of the ask was a crowded room with people milling about. Some were in a hurry to get an event started on time. Some were mingling and talking and just enjoying being together in person.

The task request was given light heartedly with the perspective, it was no big deal. I was a little taken by surprise at not only the context this request was made in but also the sense that what I was being asked to do was no big deal and yet I knew it held so many significant ripples in many areas of the organization. There are times when as leaders we make an ask and make it appear light ...just in case it is rejected or perhaps we feel rejected by a 'no'. This ask was set up for 'yes' and yet it lacked an awareness of context and relational strength. It simply felt, it needs to get done and I must get it off my desk. Interestingly, I did say 'yes'. And after some time to reflect I realized my 'yes' was not what was needed, my 'yes' would not accomplish what was needed most - an engaged and committed volunteer. This ask was closer to the tension end of the actual task and was taking for granted the strength of relationship placed well in context.

Often we are faced with the urgency of a task that needs to be completed and simply finding someone to get it done on time. It is not a choice of either /or. It is a need for both/and.

Wether the task is a staff size one or a volunteer size one, it holds the same importance and is deserving of a real conversation that creates the base for a healthy working relationship of clarity, trust, engagement and follow through. A key principle for every leader to consider as they seek to see tasks accomplished is the principle of relationship or community. No one serves alone. We all are pulling in the same direction which calls for healthy conversations and healthy relationships.

As Susan Scott says:" The conversation is the relationship!"

So much for discussion here. Feel free to create a conversation with colleagues and peers. direct reports and volunteers.

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