Why Reframing Is Critical To Your Leadership

The frame through which you look at the world may not be the one you picked up on your own. Sometimes people force the frame on you.

– Craig Groeschel

In his book, Winning The War In Your Mind, Craig Groeschel writes, “When we reframe what happened in our yesterdays, that changes our todays. We are able to experience life without the old, negative, cognitive bias and start seeing through the lens of God’s grace.” Sounds refreshing, doesn’t it?

The reframing process is essential in your life and in leadership. How you choose to frame the experiences you face in life and in leadership is what separates good leaders from the rest.

It reminds me of the story of the noted English architect Sir Christopher Wren. He was supervising the construction of a magnificent cathedral in London. A journalist thought it would be interesting to interview some of the workers, so he chose three and asked them this question: what are you doing?

The first replied, “I’m cutting stone for 10 shillings a day.” The next person answered, “I’m putting in 10 hours a day on this job.” But the third said, “I’m helping Sir Christopher Wren construct one of London’s greatest cathedrals.”

Each one of those workers saw their work through a particular framework. And the point is, we all do.

As a leader, how you see your work, the people that you lead, and your prospects for the future is important. This framework is a reflection of your belief system and is an indicator of the direction you are headed. From the three workers, let’s examine the frame of mind of each and the lesson we learn.

The wealth mindset

The first worker saw his contribution solely from the frame of his daily pay. Beyond cutting stone, he seemed to not grasp the enormity of the project he was working on. While there’s no indication that he despised the work or the pay, the tragedy of this mindset runs deeper.

Could it be possible that he undervalued his contributions? If he understood the magnitude of his work and how it would impact the lives of thousands of people, then perhaps his approach to his work would have been different. Perhaps his work would have been more sacred.

Leadership Tip: While a strong work ethic is valuable, your people need to understand the why behind it and the value of their contributions.

The work mindset

The second worker pronounced that he was putting in 10 hours a day. It would be safe to say that he was a hard and dedicated worker. He would be the type you’d want in your organization. His work ethic was one that likely caused him to stand out and catch the eye of the reporter.

While this work ethic is to be applauded, it would seem that he failed to see the big picture or scope of what he was doing. Yes, he was putting in 10 hours a day, but he was part of something greater than himself and it seems to be lost on him. How tragic.

Leadership Tip: Make sure your people know that the long hours they put in are moving the needle towards something great and greater than themselves.

The wisdom mindset

The third worker seemed to have a greater understanding of what was taking place. He knew that he was helping build a great cathedral. I can just hear the excitement and passion in his voice as he spoke to the reporter.

In any organization, you have some who are there just for the paycheck. You have some who just want to come in, do their work, and go home with little to no regard for what they are doing or why. Those who will truly make a difference in your organization are those who understand why they are there, where they are going, and how great it’s going to be when they get there.

Leadership Tip: You must always keep the mission and vision before your people. You never want them to be at a loss for what it is that they are doing or why. This can only happen when leaders begin reframing with purpose and clarity.

How would reframing benefit you as a leader and your organization?


Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson
DOUG has been speaking to audiences in the U.S. and overseas for more than 30 years. Doug knows how to spin a story, make you laugh, and how to challenge your traditional ways of thinking about leadership. Most of all, Doug is committed to helping you grow as a leader. Doug is a graduate of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida and studied Clinical Pastoral Education at Palmetto Baptist Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina. While his leadership expertise has its roots in ministry and teaching. His background also includes public relations and business. Doug understands the necessity of leadership development and why creating a leadership culture in your organization is critical to your success. He is the author of four leadership books including: Leaders Without Borders, 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders, Great Leaders Wanted, It Only Takes a Minute: Daily Inspiration for Leaders on the Move, and Leadership by the Numbers. As a speaker, Doug delivers practical and applicable leadership insights with a dose of humor and authenticity that endears him to a wide range of audiences. Doug is a John Maxwell Team member.

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