HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF “ABOVE OR BELOW THE LINE”?

If you’ve ever been coached or mentored before you, may have come across these ideas. Take this as an opportunity for you to revisit those ideas. Or if you’re a manager, leader or an aspiring leader, this is a really good principle for you to follow for yourself and certainly one worth sharing with your team. Where we focus our energy, can have a significant impact on our professional relationships.

If you’ve ever been coached or mentored before you, may have come across these ideas. Take this as an opportunity for you to revisit those ideas. Or if you’re a manager, leader or an aspiring leader, this is a really good principle for you to follow for yourself and certainly one worth sharing with your team. Where we focus our energy, can have a significant impact on our professional relationships.

The ideas around Above or Below the Line, stem from the idea of observing our behavior and the choices that we make about our behavior and how we respond.

Typically, something happens in our environment that triggers a response in us. It’s normally an automated response; we respond with a habit. This comes from our experiences, perhaps childhood experiences and we will react in a way that’s familiar and normal to us.

For example, if a car backfires, it’s the same sound for everyone, but many people will have a different response based on their experiences.  People will have a habit of responding a certain way, our brain wants to automatically respond in a way we are used to.

We can choose to stop, observe and reflect on what is happening and from there make a conscious response to our environment by what we say or what we do.

Above or below the line probably comes from the idea of “drawing a line in the sand”; where do you choose to be, which side of the line do you choose to be on? This is about choice, what choices do we make around where we put all of our energies? It’s about us being aware of what we say and do, our behavior and choice of response.

If we operate in a space that’s below the line, this is typically the space of a victim, so you’ll find yourself using the language of blame or denial.  You’ll be finding excuses for things that have gone wrong and looking for the reasons the way things are.  This consumes and depletes our energy.

If we choose to be below the line, it means that we operate in this kind of space.

if we choose to be about the line, we choose to be a Victor. We’ll have an attitude or use language that revolves around accountability, taking ownership for things that happen, taking the responsibility for things and focused on results. This is really important because ‘Below the Line’, is about blame is about complaint, whereas ‘Above the Line’ is looking at what actions we can take to make a difference and to have different results.  This creates a far more productive and energy producing environment.

You have a choice to be above or below the line, the choice we make in behavior, certainly, impacts not only yourself but the relationships that we have with the people around us. It creates a cycle.

In a nutshell, my behavior and my perceptions impact on your behavior and your perceptions which impact on my behavior my perceptions (and so on).

Just by shifting your behavior, thinking about whether or not you choose to be above or below the line can impact on what happens in the space around you.

Think about where you’re going to place yourself.  Sometimes you just need to stop and ask yourself am I using language or do I have an attitude of blame or denial?  Am I making excuses?  You can choose to place your energy above the line, to focus on being more accountable.  taking ownership. being results orientated, being responsible and looking at what actions you can take to get different results.

What’s your take on ‘Above or Below the Line’?  How do you introduce this concept in your workplace?

If you’d like to address methods of improved communication and increased productivity, talk to me about regularly half hour Time Management Coaching sessions, conducted via skype or phone. Alternatively, check out my upcoming Professional Development Training or Webinars.

About the Author:

Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a time management & stress management enthusiast based in Alice Springs, Australia. She has spent over 20 years working in time precious and stressful industries such as film, hospitality and marketing. She has always had a burning passion for creating order and making sense of things. She is sought after like a beacon in a sea of chaos to provide professional development in the business environment through workshop training, coaching, mentoring, online training programs, webinars and as a guest speaker around Australia. Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships. Follow Barbara on Twitter @barbclifford.