I wrote Four Tenets Leaders Can Use to Set Clear Boundaries at the beginning of the work from home era in 2020. The tenets were focused on how to set boundaries with others. Since that time, a much deeper boundary setting conundrum has arisen. I am not sure why it is so prevalent now, but my guess is the issue of boundary setting for leaders has been compounded by the complex working environments and how they have shifted over the past few years during the pandemic.
I am inspired to write again about boundaries but this time from a more internal perspective. What I have seen in myself, and others is that no matter what we say or how many lines we draw in the sand, if the boundary is not set internally first with clarity and conviction, it won’t hold.
Setting Boundaries Is Internal Work
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Leaders who are good at boundary setting, internally and externally, foster trust in the workplace, have more to give because their pace is more sustainable, and lead more empowered teams because they are clear about their roles. Boundary setting also has consequences and setting boundaries often disappoints others because they may not get all they want from you at a given time. The consequences are often short lived because leader growth and effectiveness is exponentially enhanced through effective boundary setting.
The essence of boundaries is that they are the end of us and the beginning of someone else. We need to own determining where we end and someone else begins and that is both the secret ingredient and the biggest obstacle in our successful ability to navigate the blurred lines. It takes practice and grace not just for ourselves, but for anyone we engage with every day. It is a worthwhile pursuit, and the rewards are boundless.