How to SET and KEEP boundaries as a leader…

by | Aug 30, 2022

Being an approachable and supportive leader is a great goal, but what happens when doing this becomes a stressor and you’re interrupted all day with no way to get your work done?

Now you’re taking home work after hours, you’re on your laptop and missing time with your family because of it…

How do you deal with it?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about boundaries. From what I’ve observed, it’s much easier to talk about boundaries than to actually create them and enforce them in a way that still makes people feel valued and included.

Let’s just say, it’s a bit more ART than SCIENCE.

That’s because every person has a different personality and (as we say in the Coach Approach to Leadership) a different leadership DNA. Each team and business is also very different. So, it’s important to find what works for you and your team.

In a recent program we completed with a group of leaders, we asked for feedback about their biggest TAKEAWAY… and one leader said:

“I have freed up 1-2 hours EACH DAY on average by applying what I learned from our sessions.”

He went on to say he was feeling much less stress and more on top of the challenges coming his way. This is possible when we have the tools to set clear boundaries.

So, you may be saying, “Great, where do I start?”

Here are 3 simple things you can do right now…

1)    IDENTIFY WHAT YOU AND YOUR EMPLOYEES NEED. Sometimes, we go through our days without actually pausing to check in with ourselves or others as to what WE as people need to function at the highest level. Observe and ask yourself and your employees – what do you really need to be your best. Is it training, additional information, private time to think/work/plan, etc.? Look for areas where you have unintentionally become the bottleneck.

2)    SET YOUR PRIORITIES, FIND YOUR RESOURCES. Once you know what you need, and what your employees need, it’s time to take action. This is the “boundary setting” part. When setting boundaries, it means you’ll have to say YES to the best things and NO to even some of the good things.. You can only do this well if you know your priorities.

3)    “CLEAR IS KIND.” In Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead, she uses this powerful phrase. And it’s so true. The thing is, when we’re not clear with people about our boundaries, about expressing what we need and what our standards are for our own lives and for the ways in which our lives intersect with others, it’s actually NOT KIND to the other person. It creates a one-sided expectation, which can lead to conflict and stress. It’s not easy to be clear sometimes, but it’s the kind thing to do. You’ll thank yourself later!

If you’re interested in more in-depth training on topics like this one, the Coach Approach to Leadership may be for you! Let’s chat soon (link to schedule a call in the comments below).