“We need rules around here!”
It became an endeared family saying, etched into memories that echo through now silent hallways with smiles and laughter.
It started when the grandfather got to be older, and people began trying to make decisions for him or interfere with the way he wanted things to be done. Having grown up during the Great Depression, he had been working to support his family since the age of seven, when he would walk five miles to work in the fields all day and then walk five miles home at night. Decades later, as his family was seeking to support him, it came with the tug and pull that happens when life shifts into a new era.
It was his way of saying, “We need boundaries!”
He knew that as things changed, new boundaries needed to be established. There were things he could and should do, and decisions he needed to make. And there were things he needed to acquiesce to others.
Thus, the need for “rules.”
He still needed to be in charge of things to the degree possible; and others needed to know where the boundaries were.
As he passed on and as the family moved on, they started to echo his sentiments, always smiling at the memory; but, also, quite cognizant that he was right: “We need rules around here!”
Rules define boundaries. And boundaries provide the basis for good communication, productivity, and relationships.
What are some of the rules you need to create good boundaries?
Recognize and appreciate differences.
People have different personalities and preferences. They have different life experiences. This doesn’t make any one person better than another; it just makes each one uniquely gifted with different strengths. Whether in a company or a family, learning to appreciate and honor these differences not only creates a stronger bond; it also allows each person to serve in their strengths.
Your team will not do things exactly the way you do them; they will do them differently. And, depending on the project, they may even do them better. Great leaders define the goal and then allow their teams to bring their uniqueness to the table.
Understand that all generations bring value to the table.
Due to longer life spans, this era is unique in the number of different generations that are working together. No one generation has all the answers and abilities to solve complex issues. But, together, there is wisdom from history and potential for the future. Generations who work together well combine decades of wisdom with the energy of youth to create new and exciting ideas and solutions.
Lead a team of leaders.
There was a day when decisions were made from the top down in organizations, and employees simply did as they were mandated from the corner office. It didn’t matter that those on the front lines could see things the leader couldn’t see. It didn’t matter that a group of employees could lay out a plan to save a struggling company several million dollars. It has been said that, if you really want to know how a company or a nation is doing, talk to those on the front lines. They will be the first to see the changes.
Wise leaders have come to learn the value of growing leaders at every level of the organization – people who can serve and lead in their strengths. When a decision has to be made, these leaders can canvas across the organization, research, share insights, and collaborate to make more solid decisions.
Engage candidly with others.
Candor is an important factor in communication and relationships. It involves being open and honest in your communications, even when you disagree. It means being able to have the hard conversations about expectations and accountability. It means speaking up when you see an issue and being heard and respected when you do.
In any relationship, there will not always be full agreement. But where each person can be candid with their thoughts and viewpoints – and be heard – there is strength. In resolving the differences, the relationship grows stronger. In organizations, this type of discussion, conducted in a healthy way, helps resolve issues, create innovation, and develop higher quality teams and products.
Set clear expectations.
Multi-generational homes are now becoming more common, with grandparents, grown children, and grandchildren living under the same roof. Builders are recognizing the trend and beginning to cater to it. They are designing homes that have a central living area for everyone to gather together, but that also have separate areas for times when the different family units want a measure of their own unique space. They may have separate entrances in addition to a common entrance for separate comings and goings. It is a model that is working very well for many families.
It works because there are clear expectations of space and time.
The same holds true in the workplace. Each person needs to have an area to gather together with their team, but they also need a place to express their individual strengths. For introverts, this quiet space is especially important to their strengths of reflection and analysis. And for extroverts, being able to join with others to collaborate is of great value. Considering both the need for collaboration and the need for individual work is key in today’s workplace. In today’s environment, this may mean a hybrid workforce, weekly video conference calls, or in-house areas that are defined for different functions.
It is also important to define clear job expectations. This eliminates frustration and confusion. When it comes to projects, be sure each person is clear on their individual parts and how they work together as a whole.
RULES…does your organization have a solid set of rules that establish clear boundaries? Are they working well, or is it time to review and clarify them? Organizations, like people, are in a constant state of motion and change. For that reason, it is important to review boundaries on a regular basis. What is working? What is not? What needs to be changed? How can you help each member of your team succeed, and how can you ensure the success of the team as a whole?
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer, and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, and using the Maxwell Method, Deb helps leaders and teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results