Whether you manage a team that works on air conditioning and heating systems or you run a busy cafe, being a leader can be tricky. While generally, it’s fulfilling to guide and inspire others, it can also get overwhelming. For example, not setting boundaries means risking burnout, difficulty meeting goals, and even loss of respect from your team – all of which can undermine your role and make things very stressful.
So if you want to lead effectively with confidence and clarity, it’s time to brush up on your boundary-setting skills. Here are some tips for setting boundaries while navigating being a leader.
A crucial step when it comes to setting boundaries is being very clear on expectations so that everyone is on the same page and there are fewer misunderstandings, if any.
To clarify expectations:
- Define your role and communicate it to your team
- Define each team member’s role – responsibilities and goals
- Establish communication protocols – guidelines for response times, and when it’s appropriate to be contacted outside of work hours
For anything to stick, consistency is key. Inconsistent boundaries mean confusion, frustration, and a loss of trust.
The best way to be consistent is to not stop at simply stating boundaries but also enforcing them consistently. You want to follow through with consequences every time a line is crossed, applicable to everyone on your team.
Consistency also means being mindful of your own behavior. Hypocrisy does not inspire obedience and if you want your team to respect certain boundaries, modeling the behavior is a good place so that if you expect not to be disturbed on weekends unless it’s urgent, you should make it a habit to let your team have weekends free also.
There are all kinds of boundaries, so while some are personal and up to you, some boundaries require feedback and by actively listening you can gauge what needs to be adjusted. Plus, when a team feels heard and understood, they’re more likely to respect boundaries especially if they agree that they’re necessary.
How to actively listen? Active listening means giving your full attention to the person speaking, asking open-ended questions for clarification, and even reiterating to make sure you’re getting it right. You also want to listen without judgment or incessant interruptions, and instead acknowledge their feelings and perspectives.
Identify Your Non-Negotiables
As mentioned, some boundaries are personal and up to you – often related to your values, well-being, or priorities – and it’s important that you identify what they are so that you can be clear and consistent.
There are different ways to figure out what your non-negotiables are. You can pay attention to your emotions for example; the relevant situations that make you feel disrespected, angry, incompetent, etc. Alternatively, you can look at past interactions for situations where you felt that your boundaries were violated.
It’s easy to burnout as a leader but luckily one way to prevent that is by setting boundaries. So try out these tips.