Leadership Requires Flexible Thinking

  • Posted on: 19 August 2013
  • By: Tina McCoy

All of us have our own personality styles and mental lenses that we gravitate to.  Although it may not come naturally, effective leaders must nurture within themselves the ability to examine situations and challenges from a range of perspectives – especially from the perspectives that don’t ‘come naturally’ to them.  Free your mind and increase your problem solving ability (and thus your ability to lead) by reading Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership by Lee Bolman and Terrance Deal.

I wish I had read this book ten years earlier.  Bolman and Deal masterfully crafted a user-friendly text that can expand the thinking and skills of leaders through multiple frameworks for analyses of complex organizations. Even leaders who are intellectually brilliant have ‘blind spots’ and methods of operating that prevent them from accurately seeing and interpreting what is happening within their own organizations. This book helps the leader move out of his or her modus operandi by providing the tools to view problems or situations from a range of diverse but equally important paradigms.

Reframing Organizations is a ‘must read’ for anyone in a leadership or managerial position. The ability to see the same challenges from multiple perspectives simultaneously allows leaders to uncover alternatives and solutions when available courses of actions appear to be limited upon cursory review.  The book is both compelling and ‘cutting’; you will see yourself and your own shortcomings in the text.  That being said, you will also gain the knowledge you need to break down the mental barriers that may be preventing you from leading your organization effectively as possible.

Caveat: This book is long (over 400 pages without appendices). Allow ample time to read and digest this text properly.  Don’t skip over the ‘story-like’ chapters that often follow the informational ones, as the real life examples presented deepen understanding of the frames described in the text.