Work Roles: Productive and Non Productive

Essential Communication Skills For Group Facilitation

This is a concise guide to facilitator training — a key leadership role in remote and live meetings not taught in universities. 

Be A Star On the Stage of Work

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.” As You Like it,  William Shakespeare

Do you want to be a star at work or a bit player on the stage of business? Bit players never get noticed, but stars play many roles. One of the most important roles you can play is that of a facilitator. Facilitators

  • create high-performing teams,
  • run better meetings, and
  • make better decisions.

In larger organizations, you will be spending 70% of your time in meetings. That’s thousands of hours over the course of your career. If you can learn to facilitate effectively, you will be able to make a real difference in your organization.

If you want to be a star at work, learn how to facilitate effectively. You will be glad you did.

Get Training (or Coaching) on the Communication Skills Needed For Group Facilitation

Are you looking for a way to improve your communication skills and lead more productive meetings? If so, our facilitator training program is the perfect solution.

We’ll also teach you the latest facilitation techniques and tools. So whether you’re a seasoned facilitator or you’re just starting out, our program will help you take your meetings to the next level.

What is Group Facilitation?+

Group facilitation is the process of helping a group of people to work together effectively to achieve a common goal. The facilitator is responsible for creating a safe and supportive environment, managing the group’s process, and ensuring that everyone has a chance to participate.

A good facilitator is able to:

  • Create a safe and supportive environment: The facilitator creates a space where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions. They do this by setting ground rules, listening actively, and being respectful of everyone’s contributions.
  • Manage the group’s process: The facilitator keeps the group on track and ensures that they are making progress towards their goals. They do this by setting an agenda, summarizing discussions, and asking clarifying questions.
  • Ensure that everyone has a chance to participate: The facilitator makes sure that everyone has a chance to contribute to the discussion. They do this by calling on people who have not spoken yet, and by summarizing different points of view.

Leadership and teaching are both related to group facilitation, but they are not the same thing. A leader is someone who takes charge and makes decisions. A teacher is someone who imparts knowledge and skills to others. A facilitator is someone who helps a group to work together effectively.

The Benefits of Mastering Group Facilitation Skills

In social psychology, one of the key elements of understanding how a group functions is to examine the roles played by each of its members. You might say a role is a set of behaviors associated with an individual, it is a pattern of behavior that is relatively consistent over time, and it changes depending on the situation. 

There are many benefits to mastering group facilitation skills. For example, you can:

  • Reduce wasted time in meetings. Studies have shown that up to 50% of the time spent in meetings is wasted. By mastering group facilitation skills, you can help to ensure that your meetings are productive and efficient.
  • Create more cohesive teams. When a group is well-facilitated, they are more likely to feel connected and motivated. This can lead to increased productivity and better decision-making.
  • Become a more effective leader. As a leader, you will be called upon to facilitate meetings on a regular basis. By mastering group facilitation skills, you can become a more effective leader and help your team to achieve their goals.

Types of Communication Roles Played in a Group

The Major Roles on a Meeting

Formal work roles include: worker, supervisor, manager, executive, investor, and of course, The Boss. In meetings, the major leadership roles played are the:

  • Leader,
  • Facilitator, and
  • Scribe.

So besides knowing how to play well your major roles, it’s very important to learn how to develop the skills associated with the informal communication roles — it’s these communication skills —these microcommunication roles needed for group facilitation.

The MicroCommunication Roles


These communication roles get played in a group setting. They typically last a very short time, anywhere from a second to a minute or so.

Some of these roles are played spontaneously, almost randomly, like a stream of consciousness. With practice, one learns to play the right role at the right time.

There are three categories of these communication roles:

  • task,
  • relationship and
  • self-centered ones.

Want Results More Quickly?

16 Powerful Group Microcommunication Roles That Get Things Done in Meetings


“Meetings are events in which minutes are kept but hours are lost.” — Anonymous

A great leader or facilitator needs to develop skill in playing task and relationship (maintenance) roles to deal with the self-oriented roles.

You may reflect for a moment about the craziness of group dynamics that allows participants to be so undisciplined that they stray off topic and might be reminded of the old saying, “All sheep need a shepherd.”

Using the 6 RELATIONSHIP ROLES — What Prevents Destructive Conflict

Sometimes problems occur in relationships. One example is conflict. Typically people categorize conflict as either constructive or destructive. No conflict in a group can be just as bad as too much conflict. Getting good at the relationship roles is important in seeing real teamwork. But these roles are tough to play — they require a great deal of skill. There are eight of these communication roles. Relationship roles act as a counter to the dysfunctional self-oriented communication roles you see when suffering through a bad meeting.

Employing The 10 TASK ROLES — What Makes the Problem Solving and the Decision Making Work

Task roles facilitate the process of getting the job done. They help to come up with a solution for a problem, identify who’s responsible, ensure that there is a plan. Collectively, these roles are necessary to execute on the task dimension of situational leadership models. There are ten of these task roles.  But if you want to be a great leader of facilitator, you must also understand the relationship roles as well.

Lets be clear. If relationships aren’t sound, no work will get done.

Minimize the 13 SELF-ORIENTED Group Communication Roles— Don’t Let Your Group Go Off the Rails

A great facilitator has to deal with self-oriented roles. You might call this good people behaving badly or selfish people behaving normally. There are 13 of these.

Some of these are extremely difficult to handle since they are traits of personality, others just bad behavior. When these roles are overplayed, groups lock up and you walk out frustrated. By understanding the self-oriented roles, you can diagnose what’s going wrong. And by playing relationship and task roles, you can get the group going forward instead of seeing them stuck.

Learning Group Facilitation

The people in this row boat are symbolic of the facilitator communication roles played in work groups everywhere.
In any work group, the roles played are a key element of performance and on performance

Besides understanding the roles, it’s important to apply what you know. You will need to practice exercises and assignments allowing you to take the theory into the real world.

it’s not rocket science, but one does have to spend a little bit time memorizing those communication roles. Once you’ve done this, you must put words to the roles and begin more complicated elements of practice. 

Learning Facilitation Skills From the Movies

 Glengary Glen Ross (1992)

This is a tale of the more nasty side of groups in business. The focus is on four real estate agents who will use about any persuasive tool they can, legal and illegal) to close. One gets a feel for why there are so many victims out there.

12 Angry Men (1957) This is the Best — Ever

You are stuck with a twelve strangers you would rather not be with. It’s very hot in the room and a decision has to be made whether the defendant is innocent or guilty. Almost everyone present wants to leave.The first vote is taken and it’s eleven to one — you being the only one to vote innocent. What to do? 

A jury has a foreman, but that person may or may not be the real leader of the group. In this movie, emerging leader Juror 8 (played by Henry Fonda) rather than caving to peer pressure, uses a number of different techniques to get the others in the room to reconsider their positions. 

Through the cleaver use of subtle patterns of persuasion and questions, Fonda emerges as the de facto leader of the group. After watching this leadership movie, you may want to forget about the MBA and get a degree in psychology instead.


Skilled use of facilitator communication roles is complicated, more complicated than you think. And it becomes even more complicated the more political the group or the larger the size of the group. 

Just like the city cannot work without the invisible infrastructure of clear water and waste removal, so a group needs skilled individuals who can play the right task and relationship roles by a group at the right moment.

Work Skills For the 21st Century