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The Power of Framing: Creating the Language of Leadership
Gail T. Fairhurst

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Format: Hardcover, 288pp.
ISBN: 9780470494523
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Pub. Date: November 23, 2010

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

The Power of Framing shows leaders and managers how to tap into the power of language so they can persuade effectively and communicate credibly in today's business environment.

According to professor and managementconsultant Gail Fairhurst, through framing we define the meaning of "the situation here and now." Are we in a "crisis"? Is this situation merely a "cause for concern"? Should we be on "red-alert"? These are examples of how we frame the situations we face. When we connect with others through our framing, we shape reality. What's more, if we "manage meaning" when others are unable, we emerge as leaders.

Fairhurst draws examples from a wide range of sources including business, politics, sports, academia, and the arts to bring the concept of framing to life as an everyday communication skill. She includes a diagnostic instrument to help gauge your sensitivity to the framing concept. Fairhurst even dons her hat as an executive coach to tackle the common framing dilemmas that leaders face.

The Power of Framing challenges leaders to take it up a notch by viewing framing as:
  • A skill that leaders must master to communicate vision and set priorities
  • A science that shows leaders how to think on their feet and frame on the spot
  • An art form that leaders must hone like a craft with story, metaphor, argument, and visual images as their primary tools
  • A set of emotions that leaders must deploy to complement their message
  • An ethical response in order for leaders to achieve and maintain believability, and so much more
The Power of Framing is a must-read for today's leaders, managers, and all those aspiring to these jobs. Its easy-to-read style and practice exercises make this a book you'll turn to time and again to sharpen your most important communications.


"The primary work of leadership involves managing meaning through framing. Fairhurst shows that the way leaders use language to frame people, situations, and events has important consequences for the way individuals make sense of the world and their actions. The Power of Framing is an accessible and inspirational read for leaders who want to shape their organizations in ethically responsible ways."
—J. Kevin Barge, professor, Texas A&M University

"An ideal book for MBA students and business professionals who are interested in specific tools for constructing leadership in their professional worlds. By focusing on the language toolbox of leadership, the book empowers anyone to construct leadership through talk and interaction."
—Jolanta Aritz, associate professor, Center for Management Communication, USC Marshall School of Business

"Building on her earlier acclaimed work, and written in a highly accessible style, Fairhurst's thoughtful study provides us with a practical and highly relevant analysis of the power of framing language from a leadership perspective. This is a must-have book."
—David Grant, professor of organizational studies, University of Sydney

"Communication is the most important element of leadership, and framing of the subject and situation is one of the most powerful tools available to leaders. Gail Fairhurst has created the handbook to help leaders do this right. A must-read for anyone in a leadership capacity."
—Rich Kiley, venture capitalist, and retired Procter & Gamble marketing and HR executive

"To be an effective global manager, there is nothing more critical than understanding how to frame an issue so that you are effectively communicating and motivating in a culturally sensitive manner. This book will tune you into these issues and show you how to make certain your communication is properly interpreted by your audience."
—Olga Jacob, general sales manager (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg), American Airlines

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About the Author

Gail T. Fairhurst is an award-winning professor of communication at the University of Cincinnati, where she teaches leadership and organizational communication. She has also been a speaker, management consultant, and executive coach for McDonald's, Boeing, Procter & Gamble, General Electric, State Farm Insurance, Merrill Lynch, and the Children's Hospital of Cincinnati, among other organizations.

Table of Contents

Who Should Read This Book
Overview of the Contents
1The Reality of Framing
The Rules of Reality Construction
Test Your Framing Style
Framing Through Pictures?
2The Skill of Framing
Culture and Its Discourses
Mental Models
Core Framing Tasks
3The Science of Framing
Priming for Spontaneity
Priming Mental Models
Priming for Opportunity
Priming for Language
Priming After Mistakes and Gaffes
Building Complex Mental Models
4The Art of Framing
Framing as a Craft
The $1,000,000 Question: Combining Framing Devices
5The Emotion of Framing
Emotional Intelligence and Framing
Emotional Contagion and Framing
Emotional Regulation and Framing
6The Ethics of Framing
Ethical Codes and Why We Need Them
Creating Mindfulness
Moral Positioning
On Crucibles and Teaching Moments
7The Leadership Context of Framing
Context, Leadership and Framing
Now It Is Your Turn
8The Applications of Framing
Framing for Campaigns
Glossary of Framing Terms
The Author

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