Got Boundaries?

Got Boundaries?

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There’s a line from a Robert Frost poem that often comes to mind when I speak with leaders about managing their teams: “Good fences make good neighbors.”  This line could be a mantra for leaders about the importance of boundaries.

As a leader, you have several roles related to boundaries in the workplace:

  • Set and maintain good boundaries for yourself
  • Establish and articulate boundaries for the team
  • Monitor and maintain team boundaries
  • Respond and repair when boundaries are violated.

In order to lead effectively, it is imperative you have clear boundaries for yourself, both personally and professionally. Your management of boundaries serves as the model for boundaries within your team. Once you manage your own boundaries successfully you are equipped to manage boundaries within your team.

The first step in setting good boundaries, whether for yourself or your team, is awareness. Know what is essential for you or the team to function at your best and what are the absolute deal breakers.  For your personal boundaries, identify what energizes you, what drains your energy and what takes you off track. Encourage the team to make the same assessment for themselves individually and for the team as a whole.

Find a way to communicate boundaries within your team in ways that are clear and respectful. When individuals express their boundaries, they don’t need to defend, debate, or detail their feelings. For the team, boundaries should be negotiated and agreed upon by consensus, understanding that as the leader, you may need to negotiate the middle ground between competing priorities.

Two things to keep in mind when setting boundaries: make them few and make them important. Too many boundaries create confusion, exhaustion and opportunities for conflict. Your role as the leader is to monitor the team’s process and progress and issue warnings if it appears boundary violations are imminent. Recognizing potential problems ahead of time can help the team to make boundary adjustments, rather than responding to damage when a boundary is violated.

Once you’ve created a boundary, view it like a fence. It separates what is acceptable from what is not. Keep in mind that fences have gates – places where people can get from one side to the other with permission. Know when it’s time to open the gate or adjust the boundary and do it with intention, clarity, and consistency. Just as landowners periodically walk the perimeter to see if fences have been breached or need to be adjusted, take time to review your personal and team boundaries from time to time to see if new boundaries need to be drawn.

Good boundaries make good teams, just like good fences make good neighbors. Learn to be a boundary master and you will Increase Your Impact.

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Relational Leadership and Burnout expert, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach that demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Known for being wise, witty and practical, Sherene provides instantly implementable tips and strategies for enhancing effectiveness, increasing engagement and decreasing burnout, frustrations and miscommunications.

OUT WITH THE OLD – IN WITH THE NEW

OUT WITH THE OLD – IN WITH THE NEW

Achievement Conflict Resolution Employee Engagement Leadership Uncategorized

In a few short days we will be saying farewell to 2016 and greeting 2017. The phrase, “Out with the old, in with the new,” is echoing everywhere, describing the transition that is marked by the change in the calendar. What does this mean for you and for your team? Are you ready for the change that is coming?

As a leader, your role is help your team navigate the transition from old to new in the best way possible. Successful transitions require careful reflection, not just wholesale change. Here are a few suggestions for ringing in the New Year in the best way possible.

  • Recognize that it is okay to let go

There are some attitudes, behaviors, and experiences that are best left in the past. Work with your team to clearly identify what will be left behind – and why. Long-standing traditions may have outlived their usefulness. Lingering conflicts need to be resolved. Disappointments or failures should become important as lessons rather than regrets.

Honor the value of what will be released. Appreciate the effort that was expended, even when the result was not what you had hoped. Make sure that team members who invested time, energy and emotion in something that is ending are recognized for their contributions. Help your team understand that letting go frees space for something better to come along.

  • Plan the transition with intention

Reflect carefully on what will be different in the future by making an honest assessment of what worked and what didn’t in the current year. Set new goals and expectations that are realistic, but require a bit of a stretch. No one gets excited about standing still or falling backward. Make a renewed commitment to the good things that you will be retaining for the future – they are the foundation upon which your new success will rest.

Make sure to look at the changes to be made from both the big picture and the small details. Engage visionary team members in forecasting the big picture for the future and charge detail people with looking at the components of each area to be adjusted. Work together as a team to craft a complete vision of the year to come.

  • Prepare for the in-between time

Making change is not like flipping a light switch – off one minute, on the next. It takes time for people to become accustomed to a new normal, even when it is a happily-anticipated change.

As a leader, you need to recognize that not everyone on your team makes adjustments at the same pace or with the same attitude. Work closely with team members who are reluctant to let go or hesitant about what is to come.

What might ease the transition for them? Do they need more information, support or time? Is the gap between old and new too wide for them; do they need an interim or adjustment period? Model the attitude and approach to change that you want to see in your team.

  • Embrace the new with energy, excitement and enthusiasm

Your team members look to you to help shape their attitude and acceptance of what is ahead. If you cling to the past or seem reluctant to let something go, you can be certain that others will follow suit.

If there are rough waters ahead it is particularly important for your team to feel your confidence that together, you all will find your way to smoother sailing. As a leader, when you acknowledge that change is not always easy, you give the team permission to feel the same way – and then you can cheer yourselves on as you make the change anyway!

At this time of year, when it is “out with the old, in with the new,” be a change leader for your team and Increase Your Impact!

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Leadership IQ expert, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach that demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Known for being witty, wise and highly practical, Sherene provides instantly implementable tips and strategies that get real world results.

Great Leaders are Grateful People

Great Leaders are Grateful People

Leadership Motivation Uncategorized

Leadership experts (including yours truly) spend lots of time identifying the characteristics that great leaders have in common – vision, courage, charisma, energy, insight. I’ll bet you have your own list you measure yourself against, checking to see where you excel and where you still have work to do. Me, too.

Here’s something new to consider – Great Leaders are Grateful People.

Most leadership checklists don’t include this characteristic – but they should! Here’s why living in gratitude is an essential quality for effective leadership:

  • It makes you happy – Five minutes a day keeping a gratitude journal can increase your overall happiness quotient by more than 10%. That’s the same impact as doubling your income! Happiness attracts others – great leaders know this.
  • It affirms others – People like being appreciated for who they are and what they do. Great leaders make their team feel important and valued, which keeps them connected and committed to the goal.
  • It enhances resilience – Living in gratitude increases your ability to cope and adjust when things get rocky. Great leaders are able to change course without losing direction, keeping their team on an even keel, even when things feel uncertain.
  • It improves decision-making – Gratitude clears away the mental clutter and helps you focus on what’s important. Great leaders keep their eyes on the prize and help their team to do the same.
  • It expands possibilities – Living in gratitude creates a sense of optimism and an expectation of positive outcomes. When leaders believe they will succeed, their team follows suit.

Of course, gratitude is not just an inside attitude. Living in gratitude becomes an outward expression – the way we meet and interact with others in the world. Finding and naming points of gratitude in a relationship, whether business or personal, deepens and affirms the connection.

I am grateful for my connection to you. Whether I have spoken on your stage, trained in your boardroom or taught in your classroom – I am thankful for you. If we met as friends or colleagues, at a conference, in the community or online, I am appreciative our paths have crossed. If you found my blog on the web, I am grateful to be found.

Be a better leader– Live in gratitude and Increase Your Impact!

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Dr. Sherene McHenry, Leadership IQ expert, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach that demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Known for being witty, wise and highly practical, Sherene provides instantly implementable tips and strategies that get real world results.