To Continuously Improve We Must Set Boundaries and Expectations

Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge

The best book on leadership I read this year is Boundaries for Leaders: Take Charge of Your Business, Your Team, and Your Life which I believe is essential reading for leaders who want to create successful cultures. The author Dr. Henry Cloud leverages his expertise of human behavior, neuroscience, and business leadership to explain how the best leaders set boundaries within their organizations--with their teams and with themselves--to improve performance and increase employee and customer satisfaction. In your efforts to lead and inspire your people to execute have you thought about setting expectations and boundaries?

To get results, in our continuous improvement efforts, leadership matters. Leadership matters for the entire organization, and it matters in smaller contexts such as in shifts, and individual officers. Because of that, we often talk about leadership disciplines that are essential to creating results and making it all work—disciplines such as; forming a vision, shaping the future, developing strategy, engaging the right talent in the right places, developing mutual trust, developing a learning organization, fostering innovation and agility, adaptability and execution, autonomy, and more. As you know, all of these leadership attributes must be in place for a vision to become a reality. But . . . there is another truth. Leaders lead people, and it is the people who get it all done. And to get it done, they have to be led in a way that they can actually perform, and use all of their horsepower. Said another way, their brains need to work.

You can cast a great vision, get the right talent, and yet be leading in ways that people’s brains literally cannot follow, or sometimes even make work, much less their hearts. Just because you have smart people and a good plan doesn’t mean you will succeed. Those are necessary conditions, but they will never be sufficient. It takes more than that. You must set expectations and boundaries and then take responsibility that what’s expected within the boundaries you set are indeed being adhered to. Remember, you get what you create and what you allow.

Leaders can motivate or demotivate their people. They can drive them down a runway to great results, or confuse them so that they cannot clearly get from A to Z. They can bring a team or a group together to achieve shared, extraordinary goals, or they can cause division and fragmentation. They can create a culture that augments high performance, accountability, results, and thriving, or cause a culture to exist in which people become less than who they are or could be. And most of the time, these issues have little to do with the leader’s intelligence at all . . . but more to do with how they lead people and build cultures.
It is going to require you to accept that you are in charge and that you are responsible for establishing the climate for success, setting the terms and expectations for performance with your people, for your organization, and for yourself. You have smart people, right? And you have a great plan, right? What could possibly go wrong? The only thing that could get in the way is the failure to create a culture where brains can flourish, where people are inspired and empowered to do their very best work.

Keep in mind this message holds true for me as well so let’s “work together” improving every ones performance and hold one another responsible for doing just that.

Stay Oriented!

Fred