More and more as I read HBR or Harold Jarche RSS feeds that I consider the role of facilitator more important than the role of manager or project manager.
The facilitator or coordinator of a team or a project including 1 or several teams has as main task to make progress easier. This role is the same as a chancellor – its original meaning – which is:
- make sure that decisions are followed
- keeps a status of each part the project
- helps people to work together (introduces members that can help each other; creates a dialogue environment)
- anticipates and solve showstoppers
The unique manager is, in my humble opinion, devoted to end. Until now the manager position is a power position that includes decision taking. The team members under a manager have to follow the direction the manager wants, even if the majority of the team is against.
In a healthy organisation each team member can be manager of a small sub-project and several manager can exist within a team.
Decision should be taken together by the majority of the team and the sub-project manager can just throw his arguments to convince others and untie if there is no majority.
Then is the role of the facilitator/coordinator/chancelor to ensure the decision is followed and to report to the director.
Was about 15 years ago I heard the first time about the role of facilitator. It was in terms of open-space discussion from my university professor António Dias Figueiredo and Artur Ferreira da Silva.
Since then I’ve been trying to employ this at my work. For 5 years at CERN I did coordinate meetings, report my database group to the whole IT department. Now at Nespresso I try to do the same even though the organisation is not yet prepared to move away from the powerful manager hierarchical model.