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Setting Boundaries Matters ...

Although it can sometimes be an uncomfortable process for leaders, teams or individuals - setting clear, unambiguous boundaries actually creates a much more positive working environment. With clear boundaries everyone knows where they are, what they can and cannot or should not do, what they won't do and this clarity actually but makes people happier and more productive.

Setting personal boundaries is very important. If you always say yes to that request for help from a colleague because you want to be liked, to be appreciated or you just want to help - what actually can happen is that you can become the go-to fixer / helper / extra resource and you can very quickly end up feeling overwhelmed, put upon, trapped in overwork and it's all of your own making. If your own interpersonal boundaries are clear - relationships will be better for all parties, more fulfilling, easier and more equal.

For individuals setting boundaries can be frightening for fear of rejection or disapproval or fear of being perceived as manipulative or aggressive. For teams - there is concern over demotivation for team members, not wanting to be perceived as too controlling.

Yet boundaries actually ensure you establish healthy professional practices for yourself and your team.

Boundaries will help you ensure positive Life / Work balance (you should always put it that way round as no matter how important you think your work is - your life should always come first!). They will help you avoid burnout, ensure positive mental health, they will help maintain and promote job satisfaction, raise productivity, manage work related stress and so much more.

For individuals setting boundaries there are many steps you can take including:

  • Being realistic about your work load and your capabilities and appetite

  • Being honest and open

  • Learning to delegate

  • Asking for advice

  • Understanding the difference between friendships and business relationships

  • Being clear on where your responsibility and accountability begins and ends

  • Preparing to defend / stand behind the boundaries you have set - even if this means healthy conflict.

  • Constantly communicating

When boundaries are clear from the get go - you don't need to waste time exploring or explaining afterwards - usually in some kind of retro-fit way to resolve issues that have arisen.

In our world of people and team development boundaries play a huge role. In coaching for example - the first session - often called the 'Chemistry Session' - we establish immediate and clear boundaries as to what is expected / required of the participant in order for the coaching to be successful.

There are many helpful blogs, good books and knowledgeable people who can advise you how to set boundaries and why you should - but whatever you do or don't do - if nothing else communicate, communicate and communicate.

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