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Home · Blog · Featured : Positive Framing: 1 of 6 Principles of Centred Leadership

I was at the National Leadership Psychology Conference recently, and attended a presentation by Justine La Roche from Oracle that touched on the principles of Centred Leadership from the book How Remarkable Women Lead by Joanne Barsh and Susie Cranston (New York: Crown Business, 2009).  Centred Leadership is a new model for leadership in work that has since been demonstrated to be equally applicable to men.  As such, I thought I’d treat you to a summary of the 6 principles over the next few months.  I believe any leader can benefit from some quiet reflection on these principles, whether you’re an aspiring leader or experienced CEO.

Positive Framing

Self awareness  –  Learned optimism  –  Moving on

This principle is all about how you view the world and process your experiences – do you accept that things aren’t always going to go your way and take confident action when things go wrong?  Or do you get stuck in a hopeless ‘pity party’ and give up?  Here are 3 things to consider:

1.   Self awareness:  Be aware of how you think, feel and behave when things are turning south.  Monitor your self-talk and if you feel your positive frame fading ask yourself:

  • What’s the worst that can happen?
  • What’s the best that can happen?
  • What’s most likely to happen?

 2.  Learned Optimism:  many of you may be aware that even the most pessimistic people can learn optimism from the book my psychologist Martin Seligman called “Learned Optimism” (1998).  There are definite techniques and strategies that optimists use when framing their experience, some of the ways they move on are described next.

3.  Moving on:  Don’t get stuck in a downward spiral!  Use these ideas to move forwards:

  • Disputation:  Re-examine what happened and separate what really happened from what you experienced emotionally. Challenge beliefs and use the undistorted facts to reframe the situation and plan.  How can you address the real issues?
  • Find alternatives:  Challenge yourself to come up with as many possible other explanations as to why the event occurred.
  • Use displacement tactics:  If you are feeling quite overwelmed then take time out from the issue and “displace” it with something that recharges your energy – go for a walk, watch a movie.  The break can lead to a breakthrough.
  • Use a circuit breaker:  Imagine a stop sign and use this as a symbol to begin thinking differently about the problem.
  • Identify the learnings:  Look at what you can take away from the situation. “Every cloud has a silver lining” – it’s often true that we learn more by breaking than by fixing.  What’s one small positive action that you can take now?
  • Gain distance:  Think of an upcoming adverse situation and write down all the possible outcomes.  Assign a percentage likelihood to each one e.g. 5%, 20%, 80%.  This helps to remove emotion and think more logically.
  • Try on different perspectives:  Write down how others involved might have viewed this event?  How much of your observations are facts or your beliefs?

Some other resources for you on positive framing:

Jonathon Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, New York: Basic Books, 2006.

Paul McGee, SUMO (Shut U, Move On), New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2006.

Dewitt Jones, Celebrate what’s right with the world (video) – available to preview and purchase from  Also a brief perspective from Dewitt Jones on Youtube

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