I’ve been using a tool for the past few months with the executives and leaders I work with 1:1 and even though it's extremely simple to understand, it’s resulted in profound results.
Yes, it’s a single line.
It represents the model of Conscious Leadership defined by Diana Chapman, Jim Dethmer and Kalet Warner Klemp.
Above the line represents a primary commitment to learning.
Below the line we are committed to being right.
At any given point in time we are either above or below the line.
If you are above it, you are leading consciously, and if you’re below it, you’re not.
Are you leading from above or below the line?
Before we go further I want to invite you right away into the judgment your mind is having. It probably goes something like this…
“Above is good, below must be bad.”
Instead of harshly judging yourself, the real learning with this diagram is in your ability to tell yourself the truth and accurately determine if you are leading from above or below the line.
We are all fluctuating above and below the line at all times!
In fact in my home, it’s become a common language for Dev and I to share with each other “I just need to go below the line for a few minutes to get this off my chest.”
After a few moments of venting my human emotions, I can then witness myself being able to go back above the line and ask what I can learn from this experience.
This is often what the process looks like with my clients. They might show up to a private session with frustration around what’s transpiring at work.
We DO NOT bypass the emotions. (Because we’re all human!)
We honor the need to let the emotions speak for a few minutes - I’ll often set a timer. And then, together we can partner to move the energy above the line and into the commitment to learning, curiosity and openness.
Why we fluctuate below and above the line is a beautiful demonstration of human consciousness.
Below the line can be equated to the stress response.
Fight, fight, freeze or flee. Only instead of our lives being in actual danger it is perceived danger from a threatening look or criticism at work or in our relationships.
It’s the sounding of the alarm that we need to prepare for survival.
Choice is often not present. It’s a reaction.
So how do you cultivate consciousness to move above the line?
Knowing you are below the line is more important than being below the line.
Take out a sticky note and draw a single line.
Stick it on your computer as a reminder to question “am I above or below the line?”
Get curious around when you have the opportunity to choose to bring yourself above the line! by choosing learning and curiosity, openness and listening.
Remember- no one is living above the line all the time. If they were all of their survival instincts would be gone- and we need those two!
Here’s to being human and the paradox that presents itself with Consciousness and humanness all wrapped up together.
If you’d like to talk more about bringing these kinds of tools into your organization and leadership, feel free to message me.
All the best,
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