In many environments and roles, leadership or otherwise, maintaining healthy boundaries with others is an important method to manage others. Setting good boundaries, protects an organization’s resources, maintains priorities and organizational direction, and prevents the wrong decisions from being made.
There is a fine line between keeping good boundaries and becoming a barrier to others, their growth, or development toward a goal. The ways boundaries can hurt are the following:
1. Stifles thinking, and problem solving
2. Enables the wrong behaviors in an organization
3. Keeps people from stepping up to meet challenges
4. Becomes an “unspoken” no – that prevents progress
5. Keeps others from solving their own problems – maintains dependency
6. Restricts opportunity for customers and our response
Boundaries can be a barrier where it artificially creates control, where it is not needed. This is for the benefit of the leader who needs control, or there are insecurities in the organization. It can stifle creative thinking, and emotionally create obstacles for workers or even worse yet, dependence on the leader. Examples of “boundaries” that may be unproductive in an organization:
– Complex rules, routines, procedures
– Rigid hierarchy and reporting structures
– Not fostering self-sufficiency or independent ideas in the workplace
– preventing access to services by prospective customers
– disrespectful interpersonal interactions
Rules and boundaries are needed to be sure, but when it starts to stifle progress toward the vision and goal, the above problems points should be considered. So much of what we believe is good for organizations, may be getting in the way and preventing the organization from going to a new level.