This is a quick Leadership hack during a time of volatility, uncertainty , complexity and ambiguity in the world we are currently living in.

COViD 19 has really put a shot across the bows of the world we live in today and I don’t think things will ever be like what we have known in the times pre COViD.

Have you hear of Above and Below the line thinking? Are you a Above or Below the line thinker?

A simple leadership hack is depicted in the diagram below;

Above the line thinking is often associated with having and Open Mindset. At any point of time in your day, week, month, year, decade, life, you will be either living above the line or below the line.

The question you should ask all leaders along with yourself is, “Which side of the line are you or am I living on?”

Are you living above the line, at cause? Or are you living below the line, also known as living at effect of things that happen to you?

Above the line thinking is about being open and curious. I love the list of questions below taken from on how open minded people bring their mindset into play

  • What are my responsibilities here?
  • How can I accept what’s happening without blaming someone else?
  • Where I can take ownership and accountability?
  • How did I contribute to this?
  • What could I be doing differently?
  • Where is my role in this situation?
  • How can I make a difference?
  • How can I be helpful and of service to someone else?
  • How can I cooperate?
  • How can I support?
  • How can I add value?
  • How can I involve the right people?

It is being able to respond effectively and usefully in any given situation. It’s about starting with an intention and then working out how you can actually bring it into play.

Below the line thinking is often called a closed mindset. Again People leaders have a really simple way of describing this type of behavior.

“When your thinking is below the line, you’re protecting and defending yourself either passively (not contributing at all), or aggressively (by attacking others). This type of thinking is about trying to avoid responsibility, criticism and loss of control”,

  • Blame
  • Denial
  • Excuses and justification
  • They’re wrong
  • It’s not my fault
  • It’s got to be my way
  • I don’t trust what they’re saying

I know this seems a simple solution in what at times can be a very complex set of circumstances that can cause the behavior associated with either being above the line or below the line. The first step is identifying which of the descriptors you tend to associate with the most. Self-awareness and reflection is the start of your journey. If you are not happy with the result then start the journey to change!

If you want to stop feeling  Frustrated, Dissatisfied, Impatient, Suspicious, Resentful, Tense and full of Fear, just start dropping language such as Cant, Wont, Should, Must, No and replace with language that empowers is more inclusive eg:

  • Replacing ‘but’ with ‘and’
  • Using inclusive language like ‘us, we, ours’ instead of ‘you, them and they’
  • Solution or future-oriented language, e.g. ‘What would it look like if we…?’

Let’s get this thing moving!

It is time for our leaders to stop blaming others, denying that there is not a global pandemic and trying to find excuses of why things in their country, organisation, environment have got so bad.

What sort of leader do you want to follow and aspire to be?

One that takes ownership, is accountable and responsible for what is being done or one that constantly blames, denies and comes up with excuses.

Grab that OAR and get out of BED


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