4 Clear Professional Boundaries Successful Leaders Need to Make
As a leader, it’s important to invest in self-care. And it starts with healthy boundaries. Communicating clear expectations is a primary element of success.
Success takes a lot of work, but I’m also learning that it requires learning how to set professional boundaries. Ambitious leaders and entrepreneurs are constantly on the go. It’s difficult to grow a company, focus on multiple tasks and stay on top of your daily workload.
You’ve got to learn how to juggle it all -- not just for yourself, but for your employees too.
Good luck switching off in today’s digital world. I can figure out how to contact a complete stranger 2-3 different ways in 5 minutes. The amount of access we have to each other is unprecedented, and it’s easy to become stretched thin by the constant demands.
In today’s post, we’re going to dive into the specific professional boundaries you can set to lead a happier, healthier life and business. We’ll review four common types and how to implement them right away.
1. Be Clear About Your Roles, Responsibilities, and Goals -- For Each of Your Team Members
Being clear about roles, responsibilities, and goals is not only helpful, it is also empowering. Knowing where you want to go and what you need to do gives you a sense of purpose. It helps you focus, and prioritize tasks to meet your goals. This is relevant in a team environment too, when you are leading other staff.
In a team environment, creating boundaries and defining responsibilities will help prevent multitasking and doubling up on work. Blurred job roles can lead to confusion and frustration and lower team morale. If you set responsibility boundaries you can more effectively distribute and prioritize tasks. By taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of your team you will help promote productivity and increase teams' efficiency.
This also empowers the individuals in the team. As they know their roles and can be more confident and fulfilled in their work. If jobs are not well defined or there is too much ambiguity regarding a task's value or priority, it can lower team productivity and engagement.
2. Get Specific About When You’re Available for Emails, Phones Calls, and Meetings -- With EVERYONE
With many businesses contact details online it is even easier to access anyone whatever time of day it is. Do you have notifications on your phone? How often do you check your social media or business emails? Professional office hours are not so clear-cut with international clients and lots of entrepreneurs running businesses from home. It can be hard not to answer the phone or reply to a client whenever they contact you.
If you are always on call, this can quickly become overwhelming and stressful. Just because people can contact you it does not mean you have to answer immediately. Setting boundaries on your time will help protect your personal life. It will also prevent you from becoming exhausted and overworked.
You need a healthy balance in life to stay happy. Overextending yourself will only lead to stress and negatively affect your work. Making schedules and setting times for certain tasks can help with team and project management. It is often useful to create daily or weekly schedules to help manage your time more effectively.
Being a good leader is also about setting an example. Managing your time better and having set work hours not only does this, but also shows good business sense.
3. Set Your Rates for Services and Stick to Them -- ESPECIALLY With Friends and Family
Financial boundaries are also related to time boundaries. It is common for people to ask for advice or help with things, but this usually requires a time commitment. Even if it is for a friend, if it is a service or information you would normally charge for, it is not worth working for free.
Giving away services that others normally pay for ‘just because’ can seem unprofessional and unethical. Your time and expertise is valuable and should be regarded that way.
Setting clear financial boundaries and adhering to them is a good business practice. You have your goals and priorities for the business. Taking time out from these tasks can be detrimental to finances if it delays your work. It is important for your business and its integrity that all potential clients are treated the same. Financial boundaries should be clear and easily understood by all the team and clients.
4. Make an Agreement with Yourself to Invest in Self Care and a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Taking care of yourself and allowing for personal time is essential to avoid burning out. No-one can work 100% of the time and remain effective. It is important to dedicate time to your personal life and allow yourself to rest and unwind from work.
Whether you prefer going to yoga class, spending time with friends and family or taking some time out alone to recharge your batteries, set boundaries to protect your personal time. This can be interlinked with time boundaries. For example, reserving the weekend for your family or taking a break and letting your team/clients know you are unavailable unless its an emergency.
Boundaries are often thought of as things that hold you back. This is not always the case though. Having clear boundaries will actually help improve focus and productivity. Setting and adhering to clear boundaries can help you stay successful and move your business forward.
Successful leaders are a positive force, they inspire people. However, lack of boundaries can cause work/life conflict and hinder growth and success. It is important to consider personal and professional boundaries. Using these boundaries will help create balance in your life, maintain productivity and prevent overworking and stress.
The world’s most successful leaders all have clear boundaries they use to maintain a healthy work-life and stay happy. When you are always on the go and have so much to keep you busy it is easy to get caught up in everything. Incorporating some clear boundaries into your lifestyle will help you focus and stay on top of your game.