Here's a truism to remember: rules and guidelines are meaningful only when they are followed.when they are enforced. So, when it comes to setting boundaries, stating your expectations of employees is only half the battle. The other half involves "delivering" on what you tell employees to expect from you. You must walk the talk. And the key to doing that is consistency - holding ALL the people accountable for following ALL the rules (boundaries), ALL the time.

It's critically important that you address each policy, procedure, or behavioral guideline violation as soon as you become aware of it. The type of meeting you have with the employee - and the resulting consequences - may vary based on the history and severity of the problem. What must not vary, however, is your practice of confronting issues. Let some things (or people) slide, and you run many risks, including:

  • Sending mixed and confusing messages to the people who depend upon you for guidance and direction.
  • Creating a workplace where employees decide which rules are important and which ones can be "stretched" or ignored.
  • Exposing yourself to charges of favoritism or discrimination.
  • Losing the respect of the members of your team.
  • Facing negative consequences from your boss for not doing your job.

The truth is, in order for employees to see and accept you as the leader, you must BE the leader. And that means not only talking about boundaries, but consistently enforcing them as well.

Tip from Peer Today, Boss Tomorrow: Navigating Your Changing Role By Laura
E. Bernstein

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