When we are working with organisations to develop a more resilient and mentally tougher culture, one of the important concepts is developing a common language that everyone understands and ultimately buys into. Above the line and below the line thinking is a cornerstone of this leadership approach, as our mental toughness partner Michelle Bakjac explains in this practical and informative post.


One of my favourite concepts for the implementation of a coaching culture in any organisation is to introduce “Above The Line Thinking”, rather than “Below The Line Thinking”.

Basically Above the Line and Below the Line thinking sets the standard for what the team considers is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, language and attitudes in a workplace.

A person or team is “above the line” if they are taking responsibility, being accountable, using positive language, supporting and encouraging each other and looking for solutions. A person or team is “below the line” if they are blaming others, using negative language including sarcasm, focusing on the problem and continuously knocking down others and their ideas, saying “that will never work”, “we’ve already tried that”, “it’s all management’s fault”.

When introduced as part of a coaching culture framework, this tool helps a person and a team to recognise whether they are part of the solution or part of the problem. It also gives a person and the team permission to say to others, “Hey, that’s below the line” and to “reframe” so that the person can get back above the line with respect to their language and their attitude.

This tool can also be used to identify the need for coaching. If someone is continuously dropping below the line into blame or lack of accountability, then you can coach the person to consider how they can take more responsibility for how they think, behave and respond. Read More..

Source: Mental Toughness Partners

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