Conscious v Unconscious Leadership

Conscious Leadership Overview

The 15 Commitments of a Conscious Leader has been one of the most paradigm-shifting books I have ever studied. Perhaps, a more complete depiction is that it has been both paradigm-shifting and paradigm confirming. Among other reasons, the study of this book has added value to me is because it both reinforces my training and experience as a leadership coach; and it also challenges me to examine my habits, thoughts, beliefs and agendas. Not only does it make me want to be a more conscious leader, it also offers proven descriptions, definitions, and demonstrations of conscious and unconscious leadership in a manner that is easily understandable. There are several relevant takeaways I hope to share but here is a quick overview of the contrasts between conscious and unconscious states of leadership.

To begin, the book authors state that, from their experience 95% of leaders spend 98% of their time below the line as their default mode of operation. They clarify that being above or below the line is binary. In any given moment, we are either above the line and consciously leading or below the line and unconsciously leading. Here are a few other distinctions.

The primary commitment of someone below the line is being right. Whereas, the primary commitment of a leader above the line is learning.

Unconscious v Conscious

Unconscious Leaders are closed and defensive. .Conscious Leaders are open and curious

The goal/outcome of unconscious leadership is the survival of the ego. Creativity, innovation, and collaboration occur above the line.

Leaders above the line are happier, healthier. Leaders below the line are reactive.

Above the line attention is paid to context of interactions and communication. Below the line attention is given to the content of communication.

Presences or “showing up” in the moment drives behaviors above the line. Regret about the past, toxic fear, and greed for the future drive behaviors.

Just a sample to pique your interest and give you something to ponder today. For a complete list (PDF) and other conscious leadership resources you can click HERE. Keep in mind that what is more important than being below the line is being aware of when you are below the line so that you can make a shift quickly.


Rick Burris


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.