Learning Leadership: Bolman and Deal Four Frames
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Learning Leadership: Bolman and Deal Four Frames

October 15, 2019


Have you ever bought a painting, maybe from
a garage sale, or one that your grandma gave you, and it had a really ugly frame? You take
the frame off and put something new and it looks great. Or maybe as a digital photographer
and you zoom in, you can actually turn an ordinary photo in to something extraordinary.
Bolman and Deal talk about ‘framing’ and ‘reframing’ as a way to think about leadership and they
propose that leaders habitually work out of one, maybe two, of four frames. What we’re
going to do is have a look at all four frames and become very conscious about where we are
leading the dance in each of these frames. The four frames are political, where the leader’s
an advocate, building alliances; symbolic, where the leader is a prophet and visionary;
structural, where the leader is a social architect, designing goals and roles; and Human Resources,
where they’re a servant who supports, empowers and trains.
We’re going to encourage you to take those frames and think of them as a dance floor
because Bolman and Deal say that most leaders only operate in only one or two frames. As
a choreographer of change, we want you to be able to use the whole dance floor. If you’re
having trouble with your change, maybe think about reframing. Has it been a while since
you’ve revisited the vision? Or maybe people need some more time to learn. We want you
to check out what are your preferred frames. Where do you dance most often? We want you
to draw a leadership kite, share that on Twitter, and there’ll be some instructions about how
to do that. We’re going to also encourage you to move into the rehearsal studio now
and try out a scenario so you can check your understanding of the frames.

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