Leaders often confide in me that they are people pleasers. The truth is, when you really care for people, you want them to be happy–to understand why you make the decisions you make.

As a result, you give them benefit of the doubt, cover for them and then inch by inch allow boundaries to be crossed. One of the primary reasons for workplace conflict is the unwillingness or inability to set appropriate boundaries.

If your open door has been a revolving door; if you’re fixing everyone’s problems; if you want their success more than they do, you need to set some boundaries. Start by owning the part you played, then update relevant individuals that you’re setting a new boundary. Make sure you intend to enforce the boundary by communicating the consequences of crossing the boundary.

Enforcing Boundaries Takes Courage: When you enforce a boundary, someone’s going to be unhappy. It’s tempting to back down to keep harmony or make them understand, however the reason you needed a boundary in the first place is because they were taking advantage.

Remember this: When you enforce a boundary someone is going to be unhappy, but it doesn’t always have to be you. It takes courage to let people feel what they feel without having to back down from your boundary.

Would you be interested in educating your leaders on methods to set and enforce appropriate boundaries? Reach out at marlene@marlenechism.com to get an overview of the virtual labs being offered in 2023.


Marlene Chism