How Setting Healthy Boundaries Makes You A Stronger Leader
Strong leaders must set healthy boundaries when it comes to their team. Sure your team needs you, but they need a strategic leader that is able to give their best each day even more.
The task to set boundaries is a bit more challenging that one may think because it is often twofold. One, those in leadership roles must provide guidance and a support system without being so available that they stifle their team’s growth potential. Two, the other more concerning challenge when boundaries are not in place is that it inhibits your brain’s ability to perform “executive functions,” according to Dr. Henry Cloud, author of Boundaries for Leaders.
In his book, Dr. Cloud states, “In other words, our brains need to be able to (a) focus on something specific, (b) not get off track by focusing on or being assaulted by other data inputs or toxicity, and (c) continuously be aware of relevant information at all times.” As leaders, our ability to function is reduced when we are approached for every little question as it comes to mind and casual conversations with our team members.
There is no disputing that your team needs your assistance, but they will be more successful, as will you, when you function at your best physically, mentally, and emotionally. In other words, you can’t be a leader that is present and available all the time. What would it take to set some healthy boundaries where you have the freedom to be more intentional and strategic while growing a stronger team? Consider the following:
Engage your team proactively.
Go to your team member’s workspace rather than letting them come to you. They’ll be more likely to ask you questions about things they need help with on their own turf. You’ll find this is more proactive on your end because they will show up less during an inconvenient time in your day.
Schedule your own tasks into your workday.
After you’ve made an effort to meet your team’s needs and questions, use your next window of time to handle your own tasks. Be sure to protect this time so others will see its importance and respect it more easily.
Be most available to your team when you know they need you.
Often, as leaders, we know when our team will likely require our time and attention. When able, don’t schedule meetings or plan to be gone during those times. Find tasks to work on that don’t take so much of your energy so you can jump in and out of your workload.
Embrace a little recovery time for yourself.
On days you spend time pouring into your team, you will need to renew your own energy. Take five minutes to recapture your ability to focus by doing something that helps you refresh. Those moments will make you feel less drained and will ensure you’re more prepared when your time and attention is required again.
Respect your team’s boundaries.
If you want to teach your team the value of boundaries, then be sure to honor and respect theirs. They will, in turn, follow your lead.
As a strong leader, setting boundaries is essential. Your team will be less needy (for the win…) and feel equipped to focus their time more strategically. In order to support your team well, they need boundaries AND a leader that keeps them.