Frames Quick Self-Rating Scale


Click to Download Print version of Scale with Scoring attachment

Click to Go to free, self-scoring online version

Instructions for Frames Self-Rating Scale


    This self-rating scale lets people rate their leadership orientations. It's a good introduction to the frames.  Respondents typically find it engaging, and, in the process of completing the instrument and reflecting on their scores, they both learn about themselves and begin to understand the basic concepts behind the frames. 

        The print version of the instrument is 6 items on 1 page, and takes 5 - 10 minutes to complete, plus another 5 - 10 minutes to score.   The scoring handout includes a graphic on which individuals can chart their scores.  If they mark the appropriate hashmarks and connect the dots, they get a kite-shaped figure that provides a visual representation of how they rated themselves.

The online version uses the same content but presents it as a series of paired-comparisons.  The print and online versions take about the same amount of time to complete, and produce  similar results.

Copyright Notice

The survey and the scoring handout are both copyrighted.  We grant instructors in college and university courses automatic permission to make copies for their students, on condition that the copies carry the copyright notice and author credits.  We extend the same permission to students in college and university courses.  For questions about permission for other uses, write Lee Bolman at

Click here for the instrument.

Administering the instrument

    When administering the instrument, emphasize that it is a forced-choice instrument, and that it is important to follow the directions in order to get useful results.   

    How to score the instrument:

    Add up all the a's (1a + 2a etc.) for the structural score and put it  next to the ST code at the bottom of the page.  Then, in the same way, add all the b's for HR, the c's for Political, and d's for Symbolic.  The four scores should total 60.  If not, respondents should check their work.

    Then ask them to plot their scores on the graphic in the scoring handout.  

Discussing the Results

    After individuals have completed and scored the form, we often collect high scores and low scores for each frame, and display them on a blackboard or flipchart.  (Ties are possible -- a person can be equally high or low on more than one frame.)  This gives a rough indication of the distribution of frame orientations in a group.

    An effective discussion activity once people have computed their scores is to ask them to meet in small groups (typically, 2-4 people) and discuss two questions: 

        (1) Do the results seem right?  (That is, do individuals feel that their scores make sense?  If not, what's wrong, or what's missing?)     In some cases, if people feel the results are completely wrong, it turns out that they filled out the instrument incorrectly. 

        (2) Are the results what they want?  (That is, given their sense of the kind of leader they want or need to be, how well do these results fit?)

    If anyone asks, the instrument's reliability is high but the validity is not so high.  Self-ratings of leadership tend not to be highly valid, and the forced-choice nature of the instrument creates limitations as well.  The instrument is more useful for stimulating thinking and learning than for providing an accurate snapshot of an individual's leadership behavior.


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