Leadership Boundaries

boundaries cindy braun Mar 07, 2023

Leadership Boundaries, by Cindy Braun

Leaders create a vision and the people will follow. With so many changes in the workplace over the last three years, especially the rise of remote workers, how do leaders keep the vision alive and communicate to employees that their work contributes to the end result? How do leaders set boundaries that determine whether the people will thrive or fail? This article will only touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding leadership boundaries and how they apply to creating a vision.

In my work coaching leaders who work with hybrid and remote teams, I see three common questions:

  1. How do I keep this company's mission and vision alive for a workforce that spans the entire country instead of a single zip code?
  2. How do I lead my employees to work smart and be motivated to achieve the results I know they are capable of?
  3. How does a leader teach and enable collaboration when working with a hybrid workforce?

My passion is helping leaders enable their teams to achieve lofty visions, and I find that the first step is often an unexpected one. We must define boundaries

Think of boundaries like a property line- they define where your property begins and ends. Boundaries are made up of two essential things: “What you create and what you allow.” (taken from Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud). Each leader is responsible for casting the vision with the people you invite in, defining what the goals and purposes will be and what behavior is going to be allowed and isn’t. Sharing from Dr. Cloud’s book, here are three examples of seven leadership boundaries:

  1. Help people focus their attention on the things that matter most
  2. Facilitate connections that boost energy and momentum
  3. Identify paths for people to take control of the activities that drive results.

As defining and protective boundaries are established in an organization, it helps establish structures, values, and disciplines that build what the leader desires. It is the hope of the leader that these boundaries will set limits on confusion and distraction.

By establishing clear boundaries, a leader can provide clarity that cuts through noise and distraction, which could include: 1). An employee getting saddled with another person’s responsibilities; 2) Working too much overtime; 3) Critical attitudes that create a toxic environment; 4) Conflicts with authority; and 5) Taking home work-related stress.

These issues can be stumbling blocks for employees if not addressed. Leaders can be “first responders or first reactors” when developing their employees. At Alloy Solutions, we prefer to facilitate learning with a “first responder” mentality by providing tools around conflict management, excellent communication skills and team collaboration.

Last but not least, how does a leader guide employees to work collaboratively when working from home or hybrid model? No doubt, it takes focus and energy to keep the vision alive and create an environment that allows people the freedom to focus on what is important. By setting conditions and standards for great teams and culture, they empower people to do what they have the power to drive results. At Alloy, we are excited about working with Patrick Lencioni’s “Working Genius” model to discover our true geniuses or gifts. It is a comprehensive process for accomplishing any type of work as a team.

As you can see, this is a broad example of how leaders can use boundaries to direct outcomes, without letting those boundaries define them. Leading to achieve results with a variety of relationships in a diverse culture takes a daily focus, and requires a leader to use tools that bring about transformation. Learn more about our transformational tools for leadership at www.alloystrong.com


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