Reframing Leadership

Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  As a result, we typically (and logically) tend to look for different things to do or different ways of doing things in order to change our outcomes. However, shifting your perspectiveabout a person, an issue or a challenge can be just as impactful in changing outcomes, and perspective shifts often create quicker change—sometimes virtually instantaneous. Reframing is one form of shifting perspective, and today I want to talk about reframing leadership. Specifically, I want to offer you some helpful leadership reframes for yourself and for your team members. After all, one of the key roles of any leader is to reframe situations for their team members.

Here is a short list of leadership reframes that will serve you and your team well.

  • We love to ponder potential outcomes, but we have a tendency to focus on the negative possibilities. An example is “What if it doesn’t work?” Reframed, however, it easily becomes “What if it DOES work?
  • We love to be hard on ourselves and focus on what we do not do well. An example is labeling our deficiencies, such as “I’m not a good manager.” Reframed, however, this can become empowering by shifting to “I’m not a good manager YET.”
  • We love to focus on where we are now, rather than where we are going and who we can become. An example is “I dropped the ball,” which when reframed with one word becomes “I dropped the ball TODAY” — you  have tomorrow to be better if you learn and act and think differently.
  • We love to create fear by focusing on the personal risks of failure or coming up short, such as looking at an idea and asking, “What if I fail?” One quick reframe, however, and this question shifts to “What if I SUCCEED?” Which version opens up the great possibilities?
  • We love to see what we don’t have (such as time), and we say things like, “I can’t do it all.” When reframed with two words, however, we can shift to “I can’t do it all RIGHT NOW.” This shift reminds us to be present and focused in the reality that we can only really do one thing at a time. The stress around time comes when we try to do it all right now, which is impossible.
  • We love to lie to each other, especially when it comes to time. One of the most often repeated questions (and lies) in any organization or even family is “Do you have a minute?” Have you ever experienced a situation where it truly was just a minute? The preamble to the question usually takes more than one minute! However, we can reframe this for ourselves and with our team by banning the question “Do you have a minute?” Instead, model for yourself and insist from your team members that everyone be thoughtful about how much time they think they need, ask for what they really want and be accountable around those requests. I also encourage you to use odd times. Instead of “Do you have a minute?” (now banned) or even “Do you have ten minutes?” reframe time requests to “Do you have eight minutes?” or “Do you have 14 minutes?” Watch how quickly this reframe positively impacts your communication and productivity.

There you have a few simple and easy to execute shifts in perspective and action – reframes – that will enhance your (and your team’s) leadership, innovation, effectiveness, productivity, attitude, enjoyment, engagement and impact. Not bad for a few words! 

What are your key reframes that you use to enhance your leadership (or life) and your team’s effectiveness and impact? Write me back with the reframes that serve you well.

Imagine the different picture YOU can create in an instant by simply reframing!

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