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Above the Line, Below the Line - Where Do You Function in Your Career?

Posted by Brian Spence on Sep 12, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Above the Line, Below the Line, CareerThere is a concept in business and organizational thinking about being "above or below the line". Promoted by the Conscious Leadership Group, this theory says that everyone involved in a business or group exhibits behavior that is in one of those two categories.

Above the Line

Those who function "above" the line take on projects with a sense of purpose and direction that takes personal responsibility first and foremost. They are excited about the possibility of being part of the creative process. The ideas of others are welcome and they are open to feedback about their efforts. They don't feel threatened by the talents and innovations of those around them. "Above-the-liners" find the challenges and obstacles exciting opportunities for action, and enjoy taking risks to achieve success. When things get hard, they are energized by the chance to think of new solutions.

Below the Line

Those "below"the line proceed with extreme caution and look to someone else to do the heavy lifting. They are afraid of being branded as at fault so they deflect the blame, point out the shortcomings of other people and embrace being the victim to explain their own lack of productivity. Fear rules their actions and defensiveness defines them. Everything is a problem caused by someone else. When faced with any criticism, they deny being accountable and make endless excuses. When things get hard, they quit.

You can probably think of the people you work with or folks who serve on committees with you who fall into these two groups. If you examine your own mindset honestly, you might see some of these behaviors in yourself.

For those in leadership, being conscious of their team members position relative to "the line" can be a useful tool in improving the performance of everyone.

Using these ideas can fortify a team by helping members see where their own thinking can elevate or derail a project. Bringing these ideas to the forefront can retrain the "cautious thinkers" to reverse engineer their "be less than you can be" thinking to re-imagine their self-defeating behaviors into being part of a dynamic team.

Using your talents and skill to live above the line? Then we can help you find a position in the Behavioral, Education, and Healthcare fields. 

To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Career Advice and Management & Leadership sections of our blog.


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Staffing Plus is a premier healthcare staffing firm that provides temporary, per diem, temp-to-hire and permanent Staffing Solutions for Behavioral Health, Education, and Healthcare settings. We have leveraged decades of experience to assist organizations with the challenges of managing their HR and Recruiting needs.