When you think of boundaries, you think of giant fences or “do not enter” signs. Boundaries at work are less obvious.
A boundary is a limit defining you in relationship to someone or something; boundaries can be physical and tangible or emotional and intangible. At work, the boundaries you set usually fall into the “emotional and intangible” category.
Friendships between a manager and employee may create a conflict of interest. Managers must be unbiased when giving performance reviews, mediating conflicts and firing or laying off employees. If such personal friendships hinder the manager’s ability to impartially perform the job, the whole company suffers.
What do boundaries feel like?
- It’s not my job to fix others
- It’s okay if others get angry
- It’s okay to say no
- It’s not my job to take responsibility for others
- I don’t have to anticipate the needs of others
- It’s my job to make me happy
- Nobody has to agree with me
- I have a right to my own feelings
- I am enough
Effective boundaries help make you a better leader. Even well-defined boundaries won’t be effective if you don’t model the behaviors you expect.
Boundaries should be used to create an environment where people enjoy and support the accomplishment of company goals. Employees want to feel that their work is part of something greater and that their contribution is valued.
It’s up to you to provide boundaries that help them achieve that.
The road is easier together,