The Father Factor

Why Autonomy is Vital to Facilitating a Fatherhood Program

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Mar 28, 2019


Have you ever been asked by your supervisor to complete a task, had that supervisor look over your shoulder while you performed it, and, perhaps, told you how to perform it?

Far too many supervisors are micromanagers. They fail to give their reports the autonomy—the freedom needed to have control over how to perform work—that’s vital to embrace work and perform at your best.

To facilitate a fatherhood program effectively, a facilitator must have the freedom to control how they facilitate it.

(Autonomy’s partners are mastery and purpose. To learn more about how to apply this three-legged stool in your work with dads, download our free ebook “8 Cutting-Edge Ideas to Super-Charge Your Fatherhood Program.”)

Where does autonomy come from? Two sources:

  • The facilitator’s supervisor
  • The design of the fatherhood curriculum

The first source might not have surprised you—it’s a no-brainer. The supervisor’s role is to give the facilitator freedom while holding the facilitator accountable for results.

The second source is why the design of the fatherhood curricula of National Fatherhood Initiative® allows the facilitator to deliver the content with autonomy. The content includes step-by-step procedures that provide the structure a facilitator needs to conduct a session effectively. These are procedures the facilitator must follow with fidelity so that the program will have the most impact.

But when it comes to what dads need to learn, the content includes what to say but not how to say it. Instead, the content includes what the dads need to learn in a way that doesn’t follow a script. In doing so, it allows the facilitator to:

  • Listen first for whether dads already know the content.
  • When dads don’t know the content, deliver it in a way (e.g. words and syntax) that the facilitator knows will have the most impact.

(To see examples of this content, download the free sample of our 24/7 Dad® or InsideOut Dad® curricula.)

When we train facilitators on how to use our curricula, we stress two things, among others:

  • A curriculum is only print and paper that sits on a shelf until a facilitator brings it alive. The most important factor in a successful fatherhood program is quality of a facilitator.
  • Make the program your own. You have the freedom to customize it within the bounds of a structure that research has shown is effective—a structure that develops pro-fathering attitudes, knowledge, and self-efficacy in the skills of a loving, nurturing dad. You know your dads, setting, and community better than we do.

While we can’t control the autonomy given to a facilitator by their supervisor, the design of our curricula contributes to this vital factor in effective fatherhood programs.

Do you have the autonomy from your supervisor that you need to facilitate your fatherhood program effectively?

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