Why Boundaries Matter in Leadership
We set a lot of boundaries throughout our life. Our interpersonal and professional relationships are filled with them. But, how do leaders set boundaries that benefit themselves and their teams?
The saying, “good fences make good neighbors” was drummed into me as a child growing up in rural South Africa. However, fences come in so many different shapes, sizes, and forms, that I couldn’t help wondering what made a good one. Are good fences designed to keep things in or out? A good boundary lets what in is needed and keeps the rest out.
Boundaries must serve a purpose. They can formulate meeting structures to increase productivity. They can eliminate the potential for risk or conflict. Furthermore, they come in all shapes and sizes, and effective boundaries are applied for the benefit of everyone.
What Are Professional Boundaries?
Professional boundaries are the legal, ethical, and organizational framework that protects employees and clients and maintains a safe working environment. Organizations generally use Human Resources to set higher-level guidance on things like healthcare, discrimination, and more. Leaders are generally responsible for the oversight and implementation of HR policy, and they bring their own expectations and boundaries to their teams.
Leaders set meeting structures, expectations around communication, the responsibilities and expectations of their teams. Additionally, leaders who don’t establish clear boundaries within their teams might find that they’re less productive, less communicative, or even riddled with potential HR disasters.
Do you know why professional and organizational boundaries are important? Our latest blog from Mae Naude explores the importance for leaders of setting and communicating boundaries for long-term success.
What Type of Boundaries Should You Set?
Effective leaders create clear boundaries that support team goals, promote productivity and innovation, and create a sense of stability and sustainability. Leadership during the global COVID pandemic has only gotten more complex. Learn how to turn that chaos into simplicity in another one of our blogs.
Rigid boundaries promote compliance and are great in a team or organizational structure with heavier, unchanging process flows. However, innovation could be stifled in environments where team members don’t feel like dialogue is an equal exchange.
Successful boundaries are those that encourage continual learning; promoting resilient, intelligent, innovative, and adaptable systems. These boundaries are porous when needed, rigid when required, transparent when appropriate, pliable if necessary, and always sensitive to both internal and external information.
Ultimately, effective leaders recognize that the best boundaries are those that are mutually constructed. Robert Frost makes this point in his poem, “Mending Walls”. It tells the story of two farmers fixing a stone wall and reminds us that the very act of building a wall together creates interaction rather than separation, and in so doing allows for boundaries which are fit for purpose.
- Clear boundaries set expectations on job performance so everyone understands the expectations of their job
- They protect leaders, their team, and the organization from issues by establishing clear guidelines and boundaries
- Establish an environment that is conducive to each unique team’s success
Boundaries are only one part of the equation for what makes an effective leader. Goals are important at the individual, team, and organizational level. Good leaders understand how to properly discuss and assign goals to themselves and their teams to increase productivity and engagement.‹ Previous PostNext Post ›