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Leadership: Four Framework Approach Cheat Sheet by

framework     leadership     approach

Introd­uction

In the Four Framework Approach, Bolman and Deal (1991) suggest that leaders display leadership behaviors in one of four types of framew­orks: Struct­ural, Human Resource, Political, or Symbolic.

This model suggests that leaders operate in one of these four categories and there are times when one approach is more approp­riate and times when it would not be. Any style can be effective or ineffe­ctive, depending upon the situation. Relying on only one of these approaches would be inadeq­uate, thus we should strive to be conscious of all four approa­ches.

For example, during a major organi­zation change, a Structural leadership style may be more effective than a Symbolic leadership style; during a period when strong growth is needed, the Symbolic approach may be more approp­riate. We also need to understand ourselves as each of us tends to have a preferred approach. We need to be conscious of these at all times and be aware of the limita­tions of just favoring one approach.

Structural Framework

Structural Leaders focus on structure, strategy, enviro­nment, implem­ent­ation, experi­men­tation, and adapta­tion.

In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a social architect whose leadership style is analysis and design. While in an ineffe­ctive leadership situation, the leader is a petty tyrant whose leadership style is petty details.

Human Resource Framework

Human Resource Leaders believe in people and commun­icate that belief; they are visible and access­ible; they empower, increase partic­ipa­tion, support, share inform­ation, and move decision making down into the organi­zation.

In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a catalyst and servant whose leadership style is support, advoca­ting, and empowe­rment. While in an ineffe­ctive leadership situation, the leader is a pushover, whose leadership style is abdication and fraud.
 

Four Framework

Political Framework

Political leaders clarify what they want and what they can get; assess the distri­bution of power and interests, build linkages to other stakeh­olders, use persuasion first, but will use negoti­ation and coercion if necessary.

In an effective leadership situation, the leader is an advocate, whose leadership style is coalition and team building. While in an ineffe­ctive leadership situation, the leader is a hustler, whose leadership style is manipu­lation.

Symbolic Framework

Symbolic leaders view organi­zations as a stage or theater to play certain roles and give impres­sions, use symbols to capture attention, frame experience by providing plausible interp­ret­ations of experi­ences, and discover and commun­icate a vision.

In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a prophet, whose leadership style is inspir­ation. While in an ineffe­ctive leadership situation, the leader is a fanatic or fool, whose leadership style is smoke and mirrors.

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