Set Boundaries, Not Rules

I had the privilege of enjoying a coffee with a group of ladies who had vast experiences in the corporate world.  Their backgrounds were diverse and included expertise from financial to operations to organizational development.  We discussed many topics over our coffees but always found ourselves coming back to the importance of people.  It seemed like success was based upon managing employees and customers but on the other end of the continuum, they can also be a great source of frustration, confusion and stress.

We all shared stories about situations and circumstances that were a challenge and how each one was tackled.  There was no shortage of ideas as well as successes and failures.  We covered differences that included gender, generations, cultures ethics and loyalty.  A few key commonalities seemed to surface when it came to being a great manager and creating great employees.

Regardless of whom an employee is and what characteristics one brings to work, each one wants to be valued, have a sense of control, a clear purpose at work and a large impact in the workplace.  In order to meet these needs, as well as order and clarity, it is best to set boundaries and guidelines rather than hard and fast rules.  Here are a few to get you started:

1.  Show appreciation – not just when incentives are met or targets are achieved but when care and consideration can be shown.

2.  Give them the outcome – it is not always necessary to paint the picture but instead detail the outcome and deadline and let employees get there successfully on their own.

3.  Ask for ideas and thoughts – regardless of gender or generation, there is a wealth of knowledge and expertise in your workplace . . . use it to its fullest!

4.  Let them be creative – establish groups when a problems or issues arise so a handful of minds can work on it.  A diverse set of people will bring different perspectives of the problem, ideas for solutions and variety for implementation.  Let people be creative.

An effective leader should not create rules or commandments meant to hold employees back or down or in line.  Instead, a set of boundaries where diversity and creativity can flourish will do better to move the workplace and moral forward.

Have fun with your staff, let them run with great ideas and use their uniqueness for solutions.Set Boundaries

If you want to create great employees and a “best place to work”, contact us today at or 604-349-8660. Is it the bosses that need some work? Learn more about our Building Better Bosses Program.

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