The Art of Framing: Managing the Language of Leadership. Gail T. Fairhurst, Robert A. Sarr. Jossey-Bass.

The Art of Framing: Managing the Language of Leadership Book Cover The Art of Framing: Managing the Language of Leadership
Gail T. Fairhurst, Robert A. Sarr
January 26, 1996

Just as photographers create powerful images by framing each image with their lenses, effective leaders see every conversation as a chance to help others see what they see. It is through countless everyday conversations – more than through big speeches or major presentations – that leaders help others make sense of events, explain the whys and wherefores of company decisions, secure commitments, and “reframe” the negative views of those who resist change. The Art of Framing demonstrates this kind of daily leadership in action.

Communication and organization experts Gail T. Fairhurst and Robert A. Sarr analyzed hundreds of verbatim conversations between leaders and their direct reports to discover how the most effective leaders manage meaning. Looking beyond the world of business to politics, entertainment, sports, and education, the authors demonstrate that will even the best leaders cannot always control events, they can – and do – influence how events are seen and interpreted.

The Art of Framing presents dozens of real-life examples to illustrate how leaders can gain support for their vision and inspire prompt action in their constituents by skilfully using language to frame events, ideas, and goals at every opportunity. This book provides proven techniques for using simple yet powerful tools such as stories, metaphors, and visual images to help you:

  • Communicate vision and priorities
  • Reduce uncertainty and ambiguity
  • Think on your feet and frame on the spot
  • Achieve and maintain believability
  • Frame events without manipulating them.

With its unique focus on the unscripted, spontaneous communication essential to successful leadership, The Art of Framing makes it easy to make the most of the vital leadership opportunities inherent in everyday communication – opportunities that we might otherwise let pass by.

Gail T. Fairhurst is professor and head of the Department of Communication at the University of Cincinnati and has consulted with numerous organizations, including General Electric, the Kroger Company, and Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati.

Robert A. Sarr is Chairman and General manager of Santa Fe Southern Railway, Inc. His independent management consulting clients include Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, and the Girl Scouts of the USA.