The way we see the world is sometimes called ‘framing’. Changing the way we think about ourselves and others can be called ‘reframing’. It is important as leaders to challenge some of our less productive frames and see how we can develop new ones, so we can help others to do the same. Our internal frames of reference can be moderated by our own motivators whether we are internally motivated by an internal frame of reference, or whether we are externally motivated by others and the frame of reference given to us by others.
Our experiences as far back as childhood build our frames from which we judge the world and ourselves. Growing up, if we are fortunate, our parents will tell us that we can achieve anything we want to if we put our minds to it. Then we get to school: and our teachers and friends become our greatest influencers.
As adolescence approaches, our friends, other adults, and the media sometimes provide competing view to the positive reinforcement we had as children – we want to be liked, to be included, to be noticed. That is when our inner voice can take a negative route. Some ways of thinking can trap us and make us feel less capable that we actually are. Our inner voice can be described as two competing voices. These two competing voices fight to be heard – one we can call the coach and one can be called the critic. Our coach challenges us to be the best we can be – “we’ve got this”, “you’ve done this before and had no trouble, trust yourself.” The critic tries to ‘protect’ us from failure and embarrassment by steering us away from challenges – “I think you should take it easy and don’t push yourself” or “there are other really capable people going for the role, perhaps you should not put your name forward in case you don’t get it.”
All these influences shape how we see the world.
The inner voice work is becoming more and more part of coaching and leadership development – working out who you listen to and why is part of our personal growth and developing our awareness as leaders.
The more self-aware you are about these frames, the more we are able to adapt and grow. All the tools and resources to enhance your ability as a leader will be for nothing if you haven’t done some work on yourself. Presenting your best self enables others to rise to the challenge too.
Think about who influences your view of the world? Is it an internal or an external frame of reference? What does our inner voice sound like – a coach, or a critic?
Vicky Pond Dunlop (BA, PGrad Dip (Psych), MEdL)
MV Consultants, 2017