This week’s book of the week is Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud. About a year ago I read the original book titled just, Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud. That book really helped me tremendously with seeing boundaries that I didn’t realize I wasn’t setting in my personal life. Just recently I found the Boundaries for Leaders book and thought it would be a great addition to VigilantPosterGirl.com‘s book of the week.
As many of us are aware, the leader sets the tone. And that tone is defined by the boundaries set or not set. As Dr. Henry Cloud puts it, “…no matter what role they played, whether a CEO, a VP, or a team or department leader, the leader sets the boundaries that will determine whether the vision and the people thrive or fail. The leaders determine what will exist and what will not.”¹ Maybe you’re the type of leader who is already aware of this principle and are shaking your head yes. However, even to the extent we know this, how much do we practice it? I think about a conversation I had last night at home with my wife Kim. I was talking about my frustration with someone in my organization that is my direct report. Then after hearing this and writing this article, I look to myself and see what my ownership is in all of it. Something I had completely (and conveniently) overlooked. My past behaviors as a leader had allowed for her present behavior. And although there was a discussion about her behavior, I believe now that it even got to that point because of the relationship between boundaries and culture.
Boundaries Create the Culture
“Whatever culture he got, he was either building it or allowing it. He was “ridiculously in charge,” that is, “totally in charge,” and at that moment, he owned it.”² This is a very freeing statement from Dr. Cloud. When we own our leadership. When we are totally in charge of the boundaries set for our team and how we set them we find a freedom, because then we make others responsible for their behaviors with proper consequences for those behaviors. And those boundaries are completely up to you.
“It is a central principle of boundaries: ownership. Ultimately, leaders own it. They are the ones who define and create the boundaries that drive the behavior that forms the identity of teams and culture and sets the standards of performance. Leaders define the direction and are responsible for making it happen. And they are responsible for the accountability systems that ensure that it does happen. It always comes back to leadership and the boundaries they allow to exist on their property.”³
What are you allowing to exist on your property? I think one of the most important things I learned in his previous book on boundaries and what I’m most excited about this week is on ownership. The beauty of boundaries gives you freedom, because you realize that you do have some control over the situation, and you are not helpless to HR for the quality of your team. What I derived from the previous book was that there were some things I was owning that I shouldn’t be. And there were other behaviors of my own that I absolutely should be owning. That’s what I hope to get out of this week’s book and hope you do too.
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Vigilant Poster Girl
Every week I talk about a book that we’re reading on leadership and self-development. You can follow along by going to the Book of the Week page at the top. And order a book (either kindle, audible, or paperback) by clicking on the photo of that book. When you do that, it also helps fund this site.
- Cloud, Henry. Boundaries for Leaders . HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.
- Cloud, Henry. Boundaries for Leaders (p. 14). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.
- Cloud, Henry. Boundaries for Leaders (p. 16). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.