Characteristics of Trusted Leaders

“We can build our leadership upon fear, obligation, or trust. However, only a foundation of trust results in the collaboration and goodwill necessary to achieve our peak performance.” ~ Roger Allen, Organizational Design Expert

 These words could hardly be more succinct in expressing the central role that trust plays in building and leading high-performance organizations. 

With the integrity of our business leaders under such a microscope these days, it’s valuable to take a moment for a refresher on trust in leadership. For integrity, though critical to trust, isn’t the only element of a trust-based management style. According to Seattle-based management expert Stephen Robbins, trust is based on four other distinct elements in your relationship with the people you lead:

  1. Competence. At first this may seem strange—after all, can’t incompetent people be trusted? Of course, but not if you want to lead. Leaders are held to a different standard, and part of what your team trusts is that you know what you’re doing. It comes with the territory.
  2. Consistency. This is one of the most pragmatic elements of trust. If your team knows what you stand for, then they will believe that you will react in a predictable way to certain situations. Over time your consistently expressed values become the shared values of the team. Some charismatic leaders may purposely act unpredictably to “shake things up,” and they may well be wildly successful. But they won’t necessarily be trusted.
  3. Loyalty. To a certain extent, your team can only trust you to the degree you are committed to their success and well-being. Max De Pree, the legendary CEO of Herman Miller and champion of the “servant leader” concept, puts it this way: “The leader’s first job is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the leader must become a servant and a debtor.” This servant/debtor relationship to your team is one that strongly conveys your loyalty to them.
  4. Openness. Trust is ultimately the characteristic of a relationship, and it is through its relationship with you that your team expresses its trust. Openness is a cornerstone of the ability to build these relationships. If your team can’t get to know you, then they probably can’t get to trust you, either. With openness comes the requirement for a certain vulnerability: In this arena, you will generally have to “go first” by reaching out and creating such relationships.

By investing in building and strengthening these qualities in your leadership, you will be steadily reinforcing your trust relationship with your team. Those relationships, in turn, become the foundation for building a high-performance team, particularly in times of change and stress, when people tend to rely upon their personal relationships. If your team trusts you in good times, they are even more likely to stand with you when the times turn challenging.

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Giving an A: Seeing the Potential in Your Team Members

Michaelangelo said that in sculpting his masterpiece “David” that he was merely chipping away from the marble everything that was not David. In other words, one needs only remove the excess stone to reveal the work of art within. 

When we apply this notion to human beings, we discover that we are all works of art in all our varied manifestations. Life’s true journey may be the process of uncovering and removing what’s in the way of our shining through with beauty and brilliance. 

In support of helping us find the best in ourselves and others, consider the practice called giving an A that comes from the book The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. This practice asks us to choose the perspective of seeing everyone (even ourselves!) as holding great potential. You can give an A to anyone—your spouse, children, employer, co-workers—even strangers. 

Taking the familiar classroom example first, notice that when students think of themselves as C students, they may not bother trying very hard. If the teacher expects them to do poorly, the students are likely to fulfill that expectation. What would happen if the expectation were that the students were A students? 

Benjamin Zander, a world-renowned conductor and teacher, experimented with giving As to all his graduate music students at the start of school. They were instructed to pre-date a letter to him from the end of the semester, writing to tell him not just what they had accomplished, but who they had become in the process of living up to that A. The results were amazing. Students who had been anxious over their performance and who were playing it safe, began to see themselves differently and participated at a higher level. 

In our work lives, it is easy to fall into the habit of judging others (ourselves, too!) for not living up to what we think is right and then holding that judgment as always true—in essence, labeling them C or D students. Imagine coming from a perspective of believing in an associate’s creativity and potential. The result can be working together toward a shared goal of excellence. 

The world is much more beautiful and full of possibility when we choose to focus on the work of art within rather than the excess stone that appears to be the reality. It’s really a choice of perspective. What grade do you want to live into?

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

How Is Your Perspective Serving You?

Perspective 1: Larry holds a high-level position with a company he’s been with for years. He is considering vying for a different position in the company that would bring greater responsibility and utilize his skills in an entirely new arena. Although he thinks it would be great to have some new challenges, he’s afraid of rocking the boat after a successful career, and tells himself it’s safer to stay where he is.

Perspective 2: Kay is in a similar position to Larry. However, she’s decided to go for it! She’s confident that, in this new position, all the knowledge and skills she’s gained throughout her career will allow her to contribute even more to the company.

These two executives face similar issues, yet they are manifesting quite different outcomes. While Larry operates from a “fear of change” perspective and doesn’t even try, Kay’s perspectives (“taking risks is empowering” and “go for it”) lead her to take action—and get results.

We are always coming from a particular point of view or perspective. In fact, it is usually the way we think about a situation—rather than the actual situation—that leads to joy and confidence or pain and suffering! The question is: How well is our perspective serving us in honoring our values and achieving our goals? And what effects are our perspectives having on the results that are showing up in our life?

If you are not fully pleased with something in your life, try using one of the following techniques to explore other ways of viewing your situation. Doing so helps you realize that the perspective you are in really is just one of many; perhaps choosing another one will serve you better. 

Techniques for Exploring Perspectives

1. Inquiry. For at least a moment, suspend your point of view on an issue that is painful to you, and ask yourself some questions. It’s most useful to do this as a writing process, but you can also explore these questions mentally.

Byron Katie, author of Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, offers a method of inquiry she calls “The Work,” some of which can be quite applicable to working with disempowering or unhelpful perspectives. The questions below are directly from or adapted from Katie’s work:

  1. What is my thought, belief or perspective here?
  2. Is it true?
  3. Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
  4. How do I react when I think that thought?
  5. Who would I be without that thought/belief/perspective?
  6. What other ways might I look at this?
  7. What’s the most positive or empowering way for me to see this?

2. Looking Through New Lenses. Imagine trying on different eyeglasses. First, put on the perspective glasses that represent how you currently see things. What thoughts and feelings arise as you look through those lenses? What does it do to your energy level? After fully experiencing this point of view, try on another pair. Explore at least three different viewpoints.

Your choice of perspectives is unlimited. Here are just a few to play with:

  • the Curious perspective
  • the Getting Support Is Good perspective
  • Warrior, Eagle, River
  • Opportunity Knocks
  • Bozo the Clown
  • Love
  • Superman
  • God
  • Think of your own….

The more creative and out-of-the-box you are as you explore, the more you allow your entire system to viscerally experience a variety of energies. Then you can choose something else if it fits you better.

3. The Perspective Wheel. Make a big, imaginary circle on the floor with eight different “pie” segments. Imagine the issue you are exploring at the center of the circle. If, for example, you are considering taking a new job, put that into the center. You will be physically moving around the circle, engaging your whole body. 

Start by endowing the first slice of the pie with your current perspective, for example “fear.” Allow your body to experience the fear you feel when you imagine taking this new job. How does your body feel? What’s your breathing like? What thoughts and feelings come up? Fully explore the energetic effect of being in this perspective. Shake off that energy, move into the next pie slice and endow it with a completely different perspective. 

Keep exploring the visceral and emotional feelings, and what is possible, from each vantage point. After that, choose one—or a combination of perspectives—you are willing to “try on” for a period of time.

The more fun you have with these exercises, the better you will shake loose old, limiting perspectives and become an empowered creator of your reality!

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Adapting to Change: Emotional Resilience

Major disruptions are a “gotcha” we all experience at one time or another in our lives. We get fired, laid off or passed over; a loved one dies, leaves or gets in trouble; a project stalls or gets cancelled. The list, unfortunately, is endless.     

For some, the impact of these hard times is overwhelming. Recovery, if it comes at all, can be painfully slow. Others show resilience and are admirably able to glide through these times fairly easily, bouncing back to a normal life again quickly. Resilience—the strength required to adapt to change—acts as our internal compass so we can resourcefully navigate an upset.    

When unexpected events turn life upside down, it’s the degree to which our resiliency comes into play that makes these “make-or-break” situations an opportunity for growth. The good news is that each of us has the capacity to reorganize our life after a disruption and to achieve new levels of strength and meaningfulness. Though it’s easy to feel vulnerable in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, life disruptions are not necessarily a bad thing because they help us grow and meet future challenges in our lives. It’s a lot like a bone that was once fragile or broken, and is now strong from being used.    

How can you become more resilient? Here are seven key characteristics of people who demonstrate resilience during life’s curve balls. 

  1. A Sense of Hope and Trust in the World  Resilient people rely on their belief in the basic goodness of the world and trust that things will turn out all right in the end. This positive attitude allows them to weather times when everything seems bleak and to look for and accept the support that is out there. This approach toward the world gives them the ability to hope for a better future.
  2.  Interpreting Experiences in a New Light  The ability to look at a situation in a new way (a skill called “reframing”) can minimize the impact of a difficult situation. Resilient people take a creative approach toward solving a problem, and don’t always use an old definition for a new challenge.
  3. A Meaningful System of Support  One of the best ways to endure a crisis is to have the support of another person who can listen and validate your feelings. Knowing that others care and will come to our support decreases the feeling of isolation, especially when tackling a problem alone. It’s important to choose people you trust. Don’t be surprised if it takes several friends, each of whom can provide different kinds of support. Resilient people aren’t stoic loners. They know the value of expressing their fears and frustrations, as well as receiving support, coaching or guidance from friends, family or a professional.
  4.  A Sense of Mastery and Control Over Your Destiny You may not be able to predict the future, but you can tackle a problem instead of feeling at the mercy of forces outside of your control. Resilient people know that ultimately their survival and the integrity of their life values depend on their ability to take action rather than remain passive. Tough times call for you to tap into your own sense of personal responsibility.
  5.  Self-Reflection and Insight  Life’s experiences provide fertile ground for learning. Asking yourself questions that invite introspection can open a door to new understanding and appreciation of who you are and what you stand for. Giving voice to your thoughts and feelings leads to insight and helps transform the meaning of a problem into something useful. Resilient people learn from life situations and do not succumb to punishing themselves because of decisions made in the past.
  6. A Wide Range of Interests People who show resilience in the face of adversity are those who have a diversity of interests. They’re open to new experiences and ideas. Because their lives are rich and varied, it’s easier for them to find relief from the single mindedness and worry that often accompany a crisis.
  7.  Sense of Humor Have you ever had a wry laugh during a difficult situation? The ability to see the absurdity, irony, or genuine humor in a situation stimulates our sense of hope and possibility. Humor has both psychological and physical benefits in relieving stress because it encourages a swift change in your perception of your circumstances—and when your thoughts change, your mood follows. 

When you look to improve these seven areas now—rather than when adversity pays a visit—you’ll be able to bounce back more quickly.  

Author’s content used under license, © 2010 Claire Communications

Quiz: Kindling Enthusiasm

Pay, praise and promotions may have some effect on motivation levels in the workplace. But these three Ps pale in comparison to more personal factors, such as the Top 5 of the oft-cited research by Rewick and Lawler: job challenge, accomplishing something worthwhile, learning new things, developing skills and abilities, and autonomy.

Take this Self-Quiz, answering True or False, to see how you’re doing in lighting and kindling the fire of enthusiasm in your team.       

1. I know things about the personal lives of my team, such as how many children they have or their special hobbies or musical taste. 

2. I try to ask questions rather than give direct orders. 

3. When making a request, I match the benefits of the task to the goals and values of the person I am asking. 

4. I give specific and sincere praise for improvements in performance, so as to let people know that I have noticed. I celebrate successes

5. When I give criticism, I begin with honest appreciation for what is being done well and right. I follow that with an “and” rather than a “but” before delivering criticism. 

6. Put simply, I treat others the way I would like to be treated. 

7. I set goals that are reasonable but that require stretching. Whenever possible, I work with individuals to set goals together. 

8. I respect the professionalism and expertise of those I supervise. I ask for their input in planning, and I give them autonomy and authority to complete projects. 

9. I share my own thinking and values around the goals and projects set. 

10. Rather than worry too much about others’ weaknesses, I focus on building their strengths

11. If my team is not motivated, I look first to myself and what I need to change about myself or my approach. 

12. I give constant feedback, both verbal and statistical, so that my team always know how they’re doing. 

13. I am motivated, enthusiastic, transparent and energetic. I have good balance in my work/personal life, and I love what I do. In effect, I am modeling the traits I want to see in others. 

14. I am always on the lookout for challenging tasks for those on my team. 

15. Everyone on my team understands what the company’s mission and vision mean to them as individuals. 

If you answered false more often than true, you might want to consider giving the topic more attention. Motivating others isn’t always easy. But because it doesn’t really come from you (it comes from within your employees), it may be easier and more fun than you think. It’s not about what you have to control, but about what you can help unleash! If you’d like to work on motivation, or any other leadership issue, don’t hesitate to call.

Author’s content used under license, © 2010 Claire Communications

Positively Essential Business Skill: Optimism

If life could be graded, Anthony would give his an F. His work has been really stressful lately, his closest colleague has just left the company, he was transferred to another department, and he hates himself for the extra 50 pounds he’s carrying. 

Anthony feels hopeless and his life seems depressing and dark. Every setback reinforces his feelings of pessimism and grim certainty that nothing ever gets better. 

Barbara has many of the same struggles: her husband just lost his job, seven months after the birth of their first child. In addition to her full-time work responsibilities, she is responsible for her elderly mother, who is becomingly increasingly frail. To make things worse, her company has just announced a restructuring that may result in Barbara’s staff being halved. Despite all this, Barbara gives her life a strong B+ and knows there are some A+ days ahead.  

Unlike Anthony, Barbara sees her setbacks as temporary obstacles to be overcome. To her, crises are part of life, opportunities for her to gain in wisdom and courage. 

Put simply, some people are optimists and others are pessimists. However, optimism isn’t an accident—it’s a skill that can be learned, one that can help us feel better and greatly improve our lives. 

Martin Seligman, psychologist and clinical researcher, has spent 25 years studying optimism and pessimism. In his bestselling book, How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, he states that pessimistic thinking can undermine not just our behavior but our success in all areas of our lives. 

“Pessimism is escapable,” he writes. “Pessimists can learn to be optimists.”

Optimism is not just a feel-good strategy. When we focus our attention on our innate character strengths (wisdom, courage, compassion) and all we have, rather than our perceived failures and what we don’t have, we boost not only our moods, but our immune system and success levels as well. Research has shown that optimistic people tend to be healthier and experience more success in life. 

To alter our lives—and the challenges we face—we must first recognize what we say to ourselves when we experience a setback. By breaking what Seligman calls the “I give up” pattern of thinking and changing our interior negative dialogue, we can encourage optimism. 

Practicing “spiritual optimism” is another way to improve the quality of our lives. Joan Borysenko, author of Fire in the Soul: A New Psychology of Spiritual Optimism, suggests that we remember that it takes courage to live, and that we can find that courage by facing our fears, finding support and using prayer or meditation. Again, it’s not really our lives that depress us but our thinking about our lives. 

So unless Anthony can begin to change his thinking, his life may not change. Barbara, however, likely will graduate to even more satisfying and fulfilling years ahead because she believes her life is filled with challenges and opportunities. 

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Ten Ways to Set Clear Expectations

Too often, managers seem to lead through mental telepathy. Rather than set and communicate clear expectations—the milestones against which we test our progress—they assume their employees know what to do and how to do it. What results is hesitation, indecision and uncertainty. Healthy teamwork, initiative and productivity go out the window.  

Properly setting expectations for employees or team members is a critical dimension in quality workplaces, according to a huge study of managers undertaken in the 1990s by The Gallup Organization. Below are some tips on setting clear expectations that will set standards for excellence and results. 

 1. Start with a vision of what you want the end result to look like. Not just what you want done, but the results you want to achieve when the project is completed.

 2. Discuss how you define “excellent performance.” Paint a complete picture. Refer to your performance review form. Don’t assume.

 3. Keep your focus on the desired outcomes, not on describing each and every step to follow. Your goal is to guide, not control. Letting individuals find their own route toward productive outcomes encourages them to use their strengths to their fullest potential.

 4. Tie the mission of the department to each job. People want to know that their role, whether large or small, makes a difference.

 5. Put the expectations in writing.

 6. Stay on the sideline. You may be tempted to run in and play the game for a subordinate, but if you do, no one will learn a thing.

 7. Give feedback—and often! The annual performance review is too late to let staff members know how they are meeting your expectations. Schedule informal review time weekly (up to quarterly for larger departments). Feedback given along the way sounds more like coaching, not like punishment.

 8. Ask for staff members’ feedback on how they think they are doing. The more two-way communication, the greater the clarity around the expectations. 

 9. Give positive reinforcement (and don’t mix negative and positive). Mention the thing you like and you’ll get more of it. Be specific and prompt.

 10. Don’t take it personally. When staff members don’t perform as you think they should have, look for solutions, not blame. 

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Are You “Too Busy”?

Time is the great equalizer. Everybody gets the same amount: 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour. We can’t save time or accumulate or rearrange it. We can’t turn it off or on. It can’t be replaced.

But these days, it seems as if the lament of not having enough time has become a national anthem. Everywhere people find themselves constantly in a rush, over-booked and over-scheduled with no time off. Life is accompanied by the ongoing stress of not enough time. And sometimes doing too much and being too busy can be a way of numbing feelings or disguising depression or anger.

Though it may not always seem so, how we fill our time and how we spend it is our choice. Answer the following questions to discover if you’re caught up in the “too-busy” cycle.

  1. I constantly find myself doing “urgent” things and trying to catch up.
  2. I allow myself to drift into obligations when I don’t know how much time or energy they’ll require.
  3. I find myself running from when I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night. I’m always tired and never feel like I accomplished enough.
  4. I seldom schedule a day off for myself and when I do, I tend to fill it with activities.
  5. I don’t make time for “self-care” activities: physical exercise, nurturing or “pampering” myself, cultural stimulation, spiritual well-being, learning something new, playing, or simply doing nothing.
  6. I seldom have time to do the things I really love.
  7. My work and project areas are cluttered with “I’ll look at this later” stacks and “to-do” piles.
  8. I often miscalculate how long certain activities will take.
  9. I often miss deadlines or work long hours to meet a deadline
  10. I respond to interruptions such as phone calls, faxes, email, beepers and pagers, and allow them to take me off track.
  11. I try to keep things in my head rather than making lists. If I do make a daily “to-do” list, it’s impossible to complete in a day.
  12. I tend to move from one urgent thing to the next, rather than working toward specific goals and objectives.
  13. I find myself constantly wishing I had more time or projecting an imaginary future when I have more time, making comments such as “as soon as…” or “next year…”
  14. I spend time running errands and rushing because I didn’t plan well enough.
  15. I spend time doing things I could pay someone else to do.
  16. I often do things because I “should,” or continue to do things that no longer fit who I am.
  17. Other people complain that my schedule doesn’t allow enough time for them.
Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Feedback Puts You In Control

A colleague who just heard your presentation at work is giving you some feedback that you were too quiet, didn’t get to the point quickly enough and lacked a compelling example.  Your breathing goes shallow and your body stiffens, your heart speeds up, and you look around to see if anyone is in earshot of this conversation. You worked for days trying to perfect this presentation—days! 

Faced with the often-difficult experience of feedback—in our work and personal lives—many of us respond in unproductive ways. But taking in feedback from others, both positive and negative, is imperative if we are to experience the satisfaction that comes with enhanced competence and improved relations. 

It is possible—and necessary—to think positively about feedback.    

Typical Reactions to Feedback

When given difficult feedback, most of us find that we do one or more of the following: 

Pretend. We say little, disguise any hurt or humiliation, push the feelings way down and eventually act like it never happened. Thank you so much for sharing that. 

Defend. We justify our actions, give explanations, point out reasons. There was so much happening last week, I didn’t end up with nearly the time I needed to prepare. Oh, and the microphone wasn’t working so well today.  

Deny. Denial automatically makes the other person wrong. I didn’t see a problem; I’m great at what I do.

Interrogate. We ask for proof that there is any truth to the feedback. Well, if you want me to understand what you’re trying to get at, I’ll need some specific examples. 

Lash out. Anger is the first reaction for some. Get off my back, will you? How dare you criticize me, you of all people! I thought you were my friend.  

Criticize. We go on the offensive through blame, innuendo or other unsolicited comments. I never believe anything those hotshots have to say. You know how it is in that department. 

Self-destruct. We turn all our negative reactions inward against ourselves. I am such a loser. I’ll never get it right. I’m never doing another presentation.   

All of these reactions serve to distract us from painful feelings of not being good enough, as well as the notion that we need to change in some way. But adapting to feedback—which inevitably asks us to change, and sometimes significantly—is critical if we are to succeed in our jobs, our marriages, our family relationships. 

Turning “Feedback” into “Food for Thought”

Taking the dread out of receiving feedback can happen with as little as a simple twist of words (“I wonder what’s going to happen” instead of “I worry about what’s going to happen”) and a slight shift in beliefs (“All feedback is a gift”). Here are some guidelines that can help transform feedback into food for thought: 

Track your own reactions. Recognize your emotions and responses. What body sensations, thoughts, emotions arise? Recognize that whatever arises in your mind is your own responsibility. It is not the other person’s fault you are responding as you are. You get to choose how you think and how you respond. When we own our own reaction, it opens the way for genuine communication with the other person. 

Get support. Though it may be difficult to identify, you may feel inhibited and ashamed upon hearing feedback that requires change. Ask trusted friends to listen, encourage and offer suggestions. Work with a coach. Even in settings in which people are expected to be self-reliant (such as many jobs), it’s nearly impossible to make significant change without such encouragement. 

Listen with an open mind and heart. Begin by acknowledging that the perception of the person giving feedback is the reality that needs to be looked at. Without confirming or denying the perception of that person, simply listen and take in what he or she has to say.    

Change defensiveness to curiosity. Don’t explain or defend yourself. It may be appropriate to bring the subject up later, if explanations are appropriate. For now, though, say the three magic words: “Tell me more!” What has the person giving you feedback observed? What does that person expect or want you to do differently? Don’t assume you know what the other person means…ask questions to clarify your understanding. 

Regard all feedback as an act of generosity. Feedback can help you recognize habitual styles that may need to change. It can help you reexamine how you are living your life. It is a wonderful gift. Consider offering sincere appreciation for to the bearer of feedback, even acknowledging how difficult it may have been to deliver the news. 

Focus on the message not the packaging. There may be times when feedback is given harshly or by someone with whom we struggle, or there is a mixture of truth and personal distortion in what we are told. Forget about what package the message comes in; what is the message? How can you penetrate to the truth contained in the feedback? What can you learn? Contemplation is a critical step to integrate the message. 

Reframe the feedback. When we put feedback in a positive light, negative emotions and responses lose their grip. For example, you could see the feedback on your presentation as a way to improve your chances of promotion, leading you to improve your skills in various ways. Or, the feedback may point you to greater personal success in a position that does not require presentation skills.   

The bottom line: Taking feedback to heart puts you in control and takes you out of helplessness. It may require ruthless self-honesty and a little detective work, but the payoff is high.

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Are Your Boundaries Well Constructed?

Boundaries are those invisible lines around yourself that let your team know the limits of what they can say or do around you. Make your boundaries too solid and you build walls, too weak and you allow others’ actions to harm you. Take a few minutes to find out how well constructed your boundaries are. 

1. I start statements with “I” rather than “you” or “we.” This lets me own what I say and is less defensive than “you,” and more clean than “we.” 

2. My boundaries are specific and clear: “I don’t accept phone calls after 10 p.m.,” rather than the vague and mushy: “Don’t call me too late.” 

3. I’m consistent when I create boundaries. If I say “no phone calls after 10 p.m.,” I don’t make exceptions unless the situation is exceptional. 

4. When people attempt to cross my boundaries, I don’t assume the worst (they don’t care, they weren’t paying attention, they’re selfish and inconsiderate); I simply restate my position. 

5. As soon as I realize I’m in a situation that might be headed for trouble, I announce my boundary: “I won’t continue talking with you if you raise your voice at me.” 

6. I try to avoid situations and people where I know my boundaries will be continually tested. 

7. I don’t take responsibility for how others respond to my boundaries. If someone feels resentment because I didn’t wait when she was twenty minutes late for our appointment, I don’t try to make it okay for her. 

8. I respect others’ boundaries and ask for clarification when I’m not certain of limits. “May I talk to you about business after hours?” 

9. When people refuse to respect my boundaries, I walk away rather than get into a situation that could escalate. I say why I’m leaving. 

10. I let my team know when I have reconsidered a boundary. “It used to be okay for you to be late, but now…” 

11. I believe that everyone has to create his or her own boundaries. What’s okay for me might not work for someone else. 

Boundaries held firm can help make life easier, reduce conflict and improve relationships. Plus, they’re a real self-esteem booster. If you answered true to fewer than 6 of these questions, you might need some help with boundaries. Please don’t hesitate to call.

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications