Many people consider leadership to be the process of leading a group or individual. But what defines leadership for me? I believe leaders are responsible for inspiring others to work towards a shared vision, which in turn creates new leaders. The act requires honesty, competence, inspiration and forward-looking abilities. I choose the reading ‘Framing in leadership communication: Strategies, breakdowns and outcomes’ to support the ideas of Fairhurst and Caywood. The reason for this choice was because it was published by Slaheddine Mnasri from the University of South Florida, which indicates that it is more credible than a web entry or magazine article. Also, it contains a significant amount of useful information on the topic of framing which reinforces Fairhurst’s theories as well as reflects my personal views on leadership.
What is framing
Fairhurst identifies framing as a capability held by leaders because it recognises the ultimate goal in leadership development. This goal is to inspire more people to become leaders themselves. The concept of framing in leadership consists of six rules of reality construction. The first rule is to control the concept. People assume communication is automatic and requires no meaningful thought. The second rule states that the situation must be defined. Framing involves the ability to shape the meaning of a subject and judge its significance. The third rule recognises that ethics must be applied due to the fact that framing a subject is an act of persuasion by leaders. The fourth rule examines the uncertainty and confusion of the current situation and opens it up for interpretation. It provides an opportunity for people with better verbal skills to emerge as leaders. Another rule explains how to design the response. Basically, Fairhurst says leadership is a design problem that people must solve in order to become leaders. People must decide what they want to do and use framing to persuade themselves and others that they are doing it. Finally, the sixth rule observes how leaders must control their spontaneous communications in order for their framing to be effective.
Different styles of framing
In order to fully understand the concept of framing in leadership, it is necessary to compare and contrast the different types of framing. In contemporary organisations, humans see the world through an unconscious mental structure. This influences a human’s creativity as well as productivity. Also, information in the human mind is framed by a range of diverse values. Under this style of framing, there are two areas to consider. The natural refers to physical experiences while the social refers to mental experiences. Leaders use this to evoke one of the aforementioned social frames to influence the perception of the listener.
Likewise, framing is also used by leaders as a meaning making tool. This refers to the ability to plant a particular understanding of a situation in the minds of the audience....