Hi there. We wanted to discuss leadership and boundaries. I do this work with a lot of different managers because oftentimes we get into management positions and there's an underlying belief that says you should somehow know how to be available to your team all the time. If you're not, you're not doing a good job. Right? So, one of the things I hear from managers frequently, is the amount of interruptions they deal with on a daily basis. A lot of managers will say, "I just don't have time to do my job, I'm so busy dealing with all the fires and all the issues that are going on with my team." While I think it is symptomatic of a time that we're all managing and leading an organizations, and the pace and the rapid movement of our organizations, I also think it's indicative of our undeveloped skill of managing boundaries and really helping other people recognize that it's not okay to be available all the time. It doesn't mean that you're mean, or that you're hiding from your team, or that you're not willing to help, it just means that there are days and times that you need space just as much as somebody else does to get their work done. How do we do that? How do we establish those boundaries? So, I want to talk about three kinds of boundaries. There's first of all the ones that I'm really just talking about, which is sort of setting up your space and time for you to focus and do your work. In fact, I recently just read an awesome book by Cal Newport called Deep Work. Cal Newport is the author and he really puts together a case for how limited our capacity is becoming for deep reflection and thought. We are so triggered and so distracted every day, and he talks about how this is impacting our ability to lead teams and lead organizations effectively. Because we need reflective time. We need that time to do the deep work to develop strategy, to innovate, to design. All those other things that organizations need us to be doing in addition to managing people's time and questions. So, we want to talk to you about managing your space so all of that can be effective. We also want to talk about what I call transparency and boundaries, which is how much do you share with your team as a manager. Then I want to talk about just those physical boundaries. Sometimes we need to establish those with people. So, the first one is just really how do you set up your systems? How do you set up the processes in your team culture that allows you to have your own space. The first thing that is essential is that one-on-one practice. We have certainly talked about that a ton in this specialization. Having dedicated one-on-one time and a schedule will allow you to have more time in your long-term schedule. Every single manager I have worked with that has agreed with me and put together a one-on-one schedule where they meet with people consistently, have absolutely seen an increase in their free time. Not at first of course. Initially rolling out a one-on-one schedule creates more time for you. You have to find the free time. But if you stick with it, then what ends up happening is the people on your team know that they're going to have this dedicated time with you. Then those important but non-urgent items that they need resolved, they don't need resolved right away can be resolved later because they know they're going to meet with you let's say next Tuesday at 3 o'clock or whenever three dedicated time is. So, the first thing if you're first completely frazzled and overwhelmed, is that you absolutely have to create time and space for yourself by building an one-on-one schedules with your employees. The second thing I recommend is something that I learned from my previous boss. He used to call it a daily, weekly, monthly. Daily, weekly, monthly was a practice we went through as a management team. What we did is we outlined all of the meetings, all of the commitments, all of the group goals, all of the group activities that we had planned on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semiannual, and annual basis. We did this once a year, and sometimes we had to tweak it. We did this as a management team. So, what that meant, was I have these important things that I do every day, I have these reports that need to be generated every day, there are things that I know I have to complete every week. I meet with my one-on-ones with my staff, I have team meetings, I generate these particular reports, I have a managers meeting that I go to. These are things I do every month. Then we went through and we built the whole schedule out and we called it daily, weekly, monthly. Then everybody knew what everybody was doing daily, weekly, monthly. So, if my boss knows I have my team meetings at 11 o'clock on Monday mornings, then he or she knows not to book other meetings during that time because that's the time that I have my team meetings. This is a collaborative exercise and they can take work especially if you work with or for people that are really really bad at managing boundaries. They just throw stuff on calendars all the time and they don't recognize that other people have commitments and have made arrangements. But it absolutely can help you again with your own boundaries, saying this is my dedicated meeting time, this is my dedicated one-on-one time, this is my dedicated time for generating reports or calling back clients or what have you. One of the things I'll share to about boundaries is that people who are not good at managing boundaries will not understand when you hold your rope. That's just part of the process. But as a leader, as someone who's assuming a leadership role in your organization, you can help everybody be better at managing boundaries by modeling this on your own. The last piece for you about these boundaries, is that you have to establish a schedule for yourself, and you have to stick with it. So, what that means is let's say your hours are you get to work typically 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and you don't usually go home until 5 p.m.. Maybe 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. is just your time. That's time for you to put down your list, to review your email, to do whatever it is you do, and you have to honor that. So, if someone comes in and says, "Hey. I'd love to talk to you this morning." That's time for you to say, "No, I'm doing this and I'd be happy to meet with you at this time instead." It could be 7:30 to 8:30 in the morning, it could be lunch time, it could be from 10:00 to 11:30, it could be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.. What matters is when someone comes, if you've agreed with yourself that this is the time you're going to give yourself to focus and someone comes in and wants to interrupt that, it's important that you honor the time that you committed to yourself. So, if someone walks, in knocks on your door, and you're in the middle of that time, I would love for you to say "I'd love to meet with you but right now I'm working on this. Why don't you look at my schedule and see what other time we can find to meet today or tomorrow?" That's the hard part. Because we want to be these open-door managers and we want people to be able to just walk in, but there has to be time that you are dedicated to your own work and the things that you know you need to get done as part of your position. Frankly, this is a very powerful modeling exercise for your team. Everybody should be managing their boundaries. I want to talk about now this whole notion of transparency. It comes up for me in boundaries. Because I think that some people are not naturally good at this and other people just are. But boundaries are also for you. Like, what should you or shouldn't you share with your team? That is a fine line for managers, right? How much to reveal. There are two things we should think about. We should think about how much do we want to reveal about what we know about the company? Because we're managers we might have some information. And how much do we reveal about ourselves and who we are as individuals? I don't really have a perfect answer here, but here's what I will say. If you overshare information that interferes with your brand and your reputation. too much personal information for people especially when you're in a leadership position or power position can feel burdensome for others. They don't know what to do with it and it can also compromise your role as a leader. Too little information has the opposite effect, but equally frustrating and challenging. Which means if I share too little information about myself, nobody knows me. I can come across as cold and aloof. So, we want to share information that's relevant, chit-chat sort of stuff but we don't want to be talking about what we're doing, you know, dancing on tables at 2:00 in the morning or whatever. We also don't want to say so little to the point that nobody even knows if we're married or have children or take vacations, right? There's a balance. So, there is something to keep in mind with transparency. The same thing is true with what goes on in meetings and information that you might have access to that staff doesn't have access to. There are some things, because you're in a management role, you just don't share until the time is right. If you become someone who shares information outside of the circle of leadership team, you will lose credibility with your peers, and that can be very painful. It's a painful spot to be in because you stop knowing what's going on and people lose trust. But we also want to be able to tell people what we know is going on that is relevant to where they are right now and I appreciate that as also a delicate dance. The question that I encourage leaders to always have is, is what I'm about to share organizationally relevant or am I wanting to share this information so I can build a connection with my staff? Am I wanting to share this so I look like I'm on the inside? Do I want to share this to create an opportunity for connection? Those are typically the negative reasons that people gossip or share information that really isn't theirs to share. Organizational relevance is typically a good place to go. So, does this help my organization for my staff to know this right now or is this just because I want to look cool and I know what's going on? There's a dance there, right? Especially when you're a new manager. It's kind of fascinating because you get privy to a lot more information and then you don't know what to do with that. So, I invite you to always have those reflections going on because they do. How much information you share does have an impact on how people experience you and ultimately what they think about you. Lastly, I want to talk about physical boundaries. A lot of us, a lot of us have to work on managing what people do or don't do at work. We've established, right, through many of the lessons so far that we can't make anybody do anything and not do something, but we can set a boundary for what our expectations are. But a boundary is direction for my behavior, not direction for someone else's behavior. Okay? I'm going to say that again. A boundary is direction for my behavior, not direction for someone else's behavior. So for example, let's say that someone at work is swearing and I don't like swearing. I don't like to be around someone who swears especially at work. What a lot of people will do is they will say, "You need to stop swearing. That's rude. That's disrespectful. That's not okay. You need to stop swearing." So, what they're trying to do is manage someone else's behavior. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your perspective, we know that people only manage their own behavior by managing what they're thinking. Right? Now, if they care about what you don't like, for instance swearing, they may stop. But that's because they want to, not because you told them to. Boundary is the opposite. A boundary is direction for my behavior not yours. So, if someone is swearing, how I set a boundary is I say I'm uncomfortable with swearing. If you continue to swear, I'm going to leave the room. If you continue to swear, I'm not going to lunch with you. If you continue to swear, I'm going to step out of the office. So, you can keep swearing, but if you keep swearing, here's what I'm going to do. So, a boundary is direction for my behavior not theirs. You can even see this a little bit in some of our accountability conversations. A lot of times what happens when someone is not performing, we say "You need to change your performance or your going to get written up. You're going to get terminated." So, we're trying to tell someone to manage their behavior in a way that makes it like I'm telling you what to do and you need to do what I say. Instead, accountability conversations are much more effective when we say, "If your performance doesn't improve, I'm going to continue the documentation process." So, the boundary is direction for my behavior, not their behavior. I'm setting it up to say if you continue to miss goals, I will continue to follow this process, versus, you need to hit these goals or you're going to get written up. Do you see the difference? I hope so. So, boundaries are really valuable. There are two keys here. First of all, think about the behavior that you would like to direct for yourself that you are willing to execute on. You have to be willing to follow through on that boundary. So, if people gossip and you go to lunch with them and you're really uncomfortable with their gossip, a reasonable boundary might be to say, "Hey, I really love spending time with you, but I'm not comfortable with gossiping about colleagues and coworkers. So, if you keep doing that, I probably won't come to lunch with you anymore." Now, that's a very reasonable boundary for you to set, but are you willing to go through with it? Because if you do, that means you're isolating yourself, right? I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's just if you're going to set a boundary, you have to go through with the boundary. We can't use it as a threat. We're not trying to manipulate people, it has to be an honest position that you're taking. So, that means we have to be clear and make sure that we like the behavior we are choosing for ourselves based on our boundary. So, keep in mind, we've got boundaries around time and making sure that we put some systems in place that allow for you to have your own reflection time and deep work. We've got boundaries and thoughts around transparency, and how much to be sharing with people in our team and about our organization. Then we have physical boundaries. Just things you need to put into place that are direction for your own behavior based on what someone else may or may not be doing. Those are the three kinds of boundaries that you'll want to consider as you're forming your coaching philosophy.