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This paper will discuss the issue regarding reframing. It will attempt to argue that the knowledge of reframing is more important. It will try to argue that reframing is more important than common sense in managing people and business organizations. Before embarking on a discussion with regards to the topic, a small definition and clarification of the term must be made.
Common sense refers to ideas and concepts in which people agrees upon. “Common” refers to the common outlook or perspective that a people have when viewing and solving a situation while sensing if this avenue or line of thinking links up with what they “sense” is right, just or moral. The phrase can also mean the beliefs, customs, propositions that are inherent inside the culture that is used to explain various phenomena and events. Common sense can also mean the judgment or conclusion that is drawn by an individual without using any means to verify or confirm his/her opinion by using systematic or methodical instruments and applications. Common sense therefore tends to rely on human experiences and beliefs that are gained thru years of exposure and understanding while using the human perspective as the standard.
Reframing meanwhile has different and varied meaning depending on the subject that it is being used. Reframing can refer to the altering or shifting the meaning or the value of an object or a situation by redefining its context and description. Reframing is further divided into two, these are context reframing and meaning reframing. The first classification takes an undesirable characteristic or attribute and finding a situation or event that would lend its usefulness and value. Meaning reframing meanwhile refer in taking an undesired attribute and finding a description where the attribute can take a positive value. Reframing is also the process of changing the way a thought is presented so that it maintains its fundamental meaning but is more likely to be supported despite the negative effects that it will bring. Reframing in the short run therefore means expressing a negative view or opinion without getting positive reactions from your listeners.
In this essay I will argue that reframing is an important tool in managing and handling people. I will claim that the method advocated by reframing is more useful and helpful when compared to simple common sense as applied by other people.
Knowledge in reframing is important since this tool is vital in solving conflicts, quarrels and petty arguments in the workplace or in everyday setting. The process of reframing is used by a leader in ironing out difficulties inside his/her group. As stated earlier reframing teaches people in knowing how to rephrase questions and suggestions with eliciting negative replies. In a team it is but common that frequent disagreements and quarrels can occur due to different opinions with a specific kind of material that will be used or the particular brand of paint or steel beam that will be incorporated in the project. Men being universally biased have certain favorites and ideas that they defend even if these ideas and opinions are flawed. With the help of reframing, each member can voice out his/her opinion without fear of being opposed or humiliated. Reframing changes the mood of a team that is discussing an important project. A hostile environment becomes friendly, appreciative and enthusiastic without the hassles of debates and divergence. These receptive surroundings can further make each member of the group responsive to share its ideals. Reframing also smoothens out the process of exchanging ideas since each suggestion; proposal or idea can be received by the members of the group without dispute.
Reframing is also an important tool for a leader because this process carries with it conflict resolutions frameworks that can be useful when a team/group hits a snag. The leader can act as the mediator or go between two parties. The leader or a mediator thru reframing can help the contending parties to restate what each party have said in a way that lessens the hostility or resentment between the two groups with the aim of enabling cooperation between the two opposing sides. Reframing helps the contending parties since it creates a common definition and universal outlook of the problem while generating acceptable solutions.
The process of reframing can occur if one or both parties are not aware of the source or root of the conflict. In reality, human emotions like humiliation, fear, anger and revenge hinder each party from knowingly solving a problem or issue. Reframing thru a mediator helps both parties to explore and resolve the conflict. Reframing helps both parties to understand the underlying causes of disagreements. While a process of understanding is in effect, each party will try to view a situation from the other’s point of view making it easier for them to think about solutions to the problem.
The advantages mentioned by reframing can be duplicated by using common sense but applying common sense is limited and restricted to specific situations. For example, two members of the group are having a disagreement and the leader decided to straighten out the conflict between the two. The most logical step that the leader can take is to invite the two parties to sit it out and talk about their differences. Although this step can be valid in specific situations, common sense cannot be applied since inviting the two parties and making them discuss their problem can even further damage their already fragile relationship. There is also no outside person free of any bias and prejudice that can guide and steer the discussion in a way that would help both parties to arrive at a solution. The two parties cannot solve their own problems because they are emotionally charged and their sentiments are clouded by hate and anger. Using common sense to solve inter office conflicts is not also effective since the two parties are just required to forgive and forget without focusing and going to the source of the problem. At this condition, the source problem would manifest itself in other ways. Without the knowledge of reframing therefore, a simple discussion could worsen the condition.
From the definition of word common sense as stated in the beginning of the paper we can see that common sense springs from human experience and the upbringing of an individual. The foundation of a common sense is based on the external factors that are around the individual. Common sense refers to the mores, laws and tradition that is imparted by culture into a specific society. These aspects of common sense make it weak when it is applied to people. First, not all human beings share the same experience, knowledge and familiarity. Each human being is unique. Unique not only because each one of us are different but each one of us solely experiences events and incidents in the course of our life. These experiences are then processed and labeled as common sense. Each group of people was born and lived in a environment and society that is different from other people thus each group of people creates a concept of common sense that is based on its surroundings. The “common sense” that is imparted to an American youth in New York is different from the “common sense” that is shared by an Iranian rug vendor in Tehran. Each culture and even within culture, the definition and composition of the phrase “common sense” is varied. An American company cannot impose its culture and way of thinking on employees who are predominantly Asians or South Americans.
An American executive cannot use the techniques that he learned in his society in order to persuade the employees of a factory to increase its production. Using common sense while it is being imposed on a group of people that have a contradictory system of common sense will result in failure. Using common sense to handle and manage people is bound to fail since in every culture, there are people who will counter, oppose and contradict the existing norms and common sense that is established in a community. There are individuals who do not recognize authority, patterns and rules ineffectively ruining the application of common sense to handle people. In a community, common sense cannot be employed to persons who oppose social norms because common sense is part of the social norm that they are fighting.
Common sense is also based on the experiences that a person. Business executive or a mediator learned through years of practice and training. Common sense is formulated when an individual has gained almost all knowledge in his field. This reasoning is another reason why the use of common sense in handling people will fail. Since common sense is based on the knowledge accumulated through years of training and practice, not all leaders and executives have earned and have learned common sense. There are ill experienced executives, manager and leaders without leadership skill. If these individuals would use the “common sense” that they have learned, they would fail miserably since they are ill equipped to deal with the situation. In using reframing, these leaders, managers and executives are provided with a guide and a manual to solve problems that will develop in the organization or group that they are handling. Reframing is used to help and to assist inexperienced leaders in solving problems and conflict.
Common sense is also subjective and bias since a person solely relies on his/her past experiences to provide answers and to formulate decisions. Personal biases and prejudices can cloud the judgment of that person when making an important decision. Common sense is affected by the feelings, outlooks and disposition of the person unlike reframing which are sets of formulated rules and guidelines in solving problems that is free from any bias and other external factors.
Reframing is has rigid structure to further help individuals in solving conflicts and quarrels inside the workplace or in their lives. Reframing dictates that to resolve conflict and effectively handle people, each party must focus its concentration of a specific issue one at a time to systematically and logically prioritize what problems are more pressing and in dire need of attention. By listening to the position of each party, a leader can expand and solve the problem which is a better practice than just talking about narrow misconceptions and erroneous beliefs that is innate inside the two parties. To solve the problem in the workplace like underperformance and inefficiency, a reframing plan of action is to focus on specific terms like pay increase, benefits or advancement while highlighting broad spectrum areas such as overall employee benefits and conditions. In this approach, the contending parties have a broad topic to agree upon.
Another strategy that is used in reframing is identifying overall goals and aims that all parties and members of the group can accept. And cooperatively work towards it. In the abortion controversy in the United States, for example, the two sides are probably never going to agree about whether abortion is moral or not. But they can agree on the idea that women should be helped to avoid having unwanted babies. Since they are provided with common and overall goals they can work together without sowing conflict and disagreement. To effectively convey reframing techniques to the receiving party, metaphors are used. These metaphors must be clearly understood by both parties and can help them relate to each other. Reframing also uses avoidance in managing and skillfully handling people this technique is applied in a situation where there is conflict. The leader or the mediator either avoids a certain topic or directly reframes or shift a certain topic so that both parties will commonly agree on certain points.
As a closing therefore, let this paper reiterate that reframing is more useful and more helpful to an individual in handling and managing people when compared to the use of common sense. Common sense has some inbuilt disadvantages. Some of these disadvantages can be seen on how common sense is built by an individual or a group. Common sense is biased, prejudiced and it solely depends on the experiences and perspective of the individual using the method. This technique is limited since common sense can only grasped and understood by people who came from the same culture. Common sense also has a flaw sine every culture exhibits and develops varied common sense that totally depends on the consciousness and environment of a society.
When common sense is compared to reframing, the logical choice that is presented to an individual is to use reframing in solving conflicts and handling people. This technique is universal and can be applied to all persons and individuals from every situation. Reframing can be easily used since it is a guide and a manual that can effectively steer discussions into agreements while diffusing clash between members of a group or a company. Since reframing has its axis on the proper presentation of ideas, outlooks and opinions without the negative thoughts and feelings that are associated with the said message.