Boundaries for Leaders

Ultimately, leadership is about turning a vision into reality; it’s about producing real results in the real world. And that is only done through people doing what it takes to make it happen. So, as a leader, how do you get that to happen? What are the things that you have to do to ensure they will do what will make it work? What do you have to do with a team, a direct report, or an entire organization?

Why is it that some leaders are able to get those results when they implement those principles? When they cast vision, engage talent, work towards execution, create and implement strategy… great results happen. Yet, other leaders do not get those same results, even with good plans? Why?

I believe that among all of the things that a leader does, one of the most important is to set “boundaries.” Basically, a “boundary” is a property line. It defines what will exist on a property and what will not. The property line around your home is like that. It defines where your property begins and ends, and you are in charge of exactly what will happen on that property—and, to our point here, within your business or organization.

Leaders must establish some boundaries in some very key areas if they want to get results.

And, thanks to brain research, we now can scientifically get a peek into why the leaders who do establish these kinds of boundaries get the results that they get.

Clinical psychologist Henry Cloud, author of the recent book Boundaries for Leaders, has identified the following 5 key boundaries.

  • The Boundary of Focus – “What are we doing?”
  • The Boundary of Emotional Climate – “What does it feel like to work here?”
  • The Boundary Against Disconnection – “Where’s my buddy?”
  • The Boundary Against Negative Thinking – “Yes, we can!”
  • The Control Boundary – “What can I do that matters?”

When leaders realize that they are ridiculously in charge of what happens on their “property,” the lines that exist under their leadership, they ask themselves what they are either creating or allowing. And as we have seen, much of it can be improved if they take charge and establish some good boundaries that help people’s brains work well. They can create good brain cultures.

When that happens with good people, results will follow.


>>Download Dr. Cloud’s understanding of these 5 key boundaries here.

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Henry Cloud

Dr. Henry Cloud is a clinical psychologist with an extensive background in both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, and he has a well-established private practice in California. He is also an international speaker and the author of the The One-Life Solution , as well as coauthor of the bestselling Boundaries, The Mom Factor, Raising Great Kids, and How People Grow.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
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