Boundaries can help people work with more discipline. For example, following the budget takes great discipline. It also fosters innovation – for example, when people have to work within a tight budget, they are forced to work out innovative solutions.
As with everything else, boundaries can also be used negatively. When boundaries are used as a wall to keep people and ideas out, instead of a framework for efficient functioning, there is usually discontentment and gradual decline. Owners might create a boundary with the managers, the large shareholders might create a wall against the minority shareholders and the richer employees might create a social boundary with to those less well-to-do.
When such boundaries are created, they are counter-productive. A manager who has his door shut all the time and resents any intrusion is actually building insularity and blocking free communication. Departments that isolate themselves lose opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas. It is only when there is inter-dependence and teamwork that organizations can succeed in the long run.
Finally, boundaries are ultimately created by people – with complex emotional and psychological needs and dependencies. It is a challenging task to manage and work with many sets of human egos and create a balanced environment of organized interdependencies while nurturing individual human potential.
It is one of the abilities that differentiates leaders from managers.
At FABRIC, we help business leaders understand where boundaries work and breakdown in their organizations and how to use boundaries in a structured, positive manner.
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Keywords: Boundary, trust, intimacy, freedom, inter-dependence, communication, cross-pollination, budget, innovation, discipline