Reframing to Enhance Leadership and Team Effectiveness


I1n our daily lives, we often face challenges that can either feel overwhelming or motivate us to find solutions. How we perceive these challenges can significantly affect our ability to address them effectively. This is where the power of reframing comes into play.

Reframing involves consciously changing how we view a situation or challenge, shifting our mindset from limitation to opportunity. Instead of being stuck in a mindset of struggle, reframing allows us to see challenges as problems to be solved, opportunities for growth, and avenues for progress.

In this article, we will explore the concept of reframing in a new light – not as a tool for influencing others but as a powerful approach for enhancing our effectiveness in navigating through life’s challenges. We will delve into practical ways to reframe our perceptions of situations, overcome self-imposed limits, and develop a problem-solving mindset that empowers us to move forward with confidence and resilience.

Reframing: From terrifying to exhilarating

Years ago, our family decided to go tubing down a snow-packed hill during winter. It was a fun activity for everyone, even my young niece. However, I found myself feeling terrified and hesitant. I did everything possible to delay my next trip down the mountainside. About halfway through, I decided to try reframing that feeling in the pit of my stomach from terrifying to exhilarating, and it worked. I enjoyed the remaining time along with the rest of the family.

Our perception, or how we see and interpret the world around us, shapes our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, ultimately influencing our reality. This may change our emotional response, behavioral choices, and social interactions. By becoming aware of our perception and actively managing it, we can significantly impact our reality and overall well-being. We’ve written a bit about perception in the past.

As leaders, we have a responsibility to help reframe situations to help manage conflict or handle change in the workplace. Examples of reframing may include:

  • Perceiving conflict in a different light – Reframing the concept of conflict can help us view it differently. While many perceive conflict as unfavorable and something to be avoided, the reality is that a serene environment may not always lead to the full realization of potential. Instead, conflict can be reframed as an opportunity for constructive dialog and debate rather than personal attacks or criticism.
  • Understanding there may be two sides to a truth acknowledges that different parties involved in a situation may have their own perspectives, experiences, and interpretations of truth, which can vary based on their individual perceptions and beliefs. Understanding and accepting that there may be multiple valid viewpoints or truths can help foster empathy, open-mindedness, and effective communication, which are essential for finding common ground and constructively resolving disputes. Reframing involves questioning the validity of our story by asking, “Is that true?” or “What else could be true?”. This approach encourages a more open and curious mindset rather than rigidity, allowing different perspectives and interpretations to be considered and promoting a more constructive outcome.
  • Knowing that change can be difficult for people – Resistance to change may stem from fear of loss, negative perspectives on change, discomfort with leaving one’s comfort zone, and attachment to the status quo. Change can trigger anxiety, fear, and resistance due to uncertainty and the unknown. Reframing can help address resistance by focusing on potential gains, emphasizing adaptability and resilience, challenging negative perspectives, managing emotions, and aligning change with values and long-term goals for a sense of purpose and motivation.

Is it a horse or a frog? Changing one’s attitude requires an understanding of their perception.

reframing to enhance leadership and team effectiveness 1The elephant is in the room and avoiding it because you feel it will create conflict only allows it to grow bigger. An article in the Harvard Business Review states that “organizations abound with — and indulge — undiscussables. We see two reasons for this. One, they serve a purpose: to help people avoid short-term conflicts, threats, and embarrassment. Second, as we contend, they exist because of a skill gap. And that missing skill is the skill of reframing.”

This optical illusion first when viral in 2006 and triggered a host of theories about what people saw. There are two animals hidden in the image. Do you see them?

Most see a frog right away, but others see a horse. What each person sees is not right or wrong but a perception that can be “reframed” by simply turning their head.

Leaders can effectively reframe situations to change perceptions by taking on the perspective of others (or simply asking them to turn their heads). This involves understanding one’s worldview and looking at the situation from other points of view.

We all have filters that drive the way we perceive reality. It is like we have on sunglasses with different colored lenses and are wearing headphones that are staticky or cut out at different points. While it is impossible to totally remove these filters, it is important that we become aware of them and develop the ability view situations from other perspectives.

It can also be helpful to step out of the situation, like a fly on the wall, to gain a broader perspective on how others perceive the situation. By doing so, leaders can gain insights into different perspectives and reframe the situation to promote better understanding and communication.

There are tools available to help people understand and reframe their perspectives

One of the tools I use often is the DiSC personality assessment tool. It helps individuals understand their own behavioral style and communication preferences and those of others. It promotes self-awareness, empathy, flexibility, conflict resolution, and team building. By understanding different perspectives and communication styles, individuals can improve their relationships and interpersonal skills, leading to improved working relationships and improved results.

Using DiSC as the basis of a conversation about reframing situations, we use it to address the elephant in the room, handling difficult conversations rather than allowing them to fester. The process below provides a guideline for approaching these conversations:

  1. using disc as the basis of a conversation about reframing situations,Define the issue/challenge from your perspective.
  2. Seek to develop an understanding of how others involved might see the situation. it. An understanding of DiSC styles can help with this, asking yourself questions like the ones below can also help you see the situation from a more objective perspective:
    • Is that true? What else could be true?
    • Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?
    • Will it make a difference in five minutes, five hours, or five days?
    • How would an objective observer describe the situation?
    • What would it sound like if I removed all the emotionally charged language?
  1. Share your perspective with the team using phrases like “I see the challenge as being this….” Or “My observation is…” Then engage in dialog by asking your team questions to gain insight into their perspective.
  2. Develop a plan of action for moving forward.

Ready to implement a plan?

Reframing is a powerful approach that allows us to shift our mindset from limitation to opportunity, enabling us to navigate life’s challenges with resilience and confidence. By reframing our perceptions of situations and overcoming self-imposed limits, we can develop a problem-solving mindset that empowers us to progress.

DiSC, as a personality assessment tool, can provide valuable insights into our behavioral styles and communication preferences, which can be used as a foundation for reframing situations, addressing difficult conversations, and addressing the “elephant in the room.”

If you want to leverage the power of reframing in your organization, contact Action-Strategies-By-Design to learn more about how DiSC can be integrated into your development programs. Enhance your leadership and team effectiveness through the practice of reframing with DiSC.



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POSTED ON: DiSC, Leadership