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how to set bounderies as a leader podcast leadership coach anne koopmann

023. How to Set your Boundaries as a Leader

How to set boundaries as a leader

In today’s episode, I am sharing powerful strategies to set boundaries at work, especially as a leader.

Why is it important to talk about boundaries as leaders?

Setting boundaries is a significant leadership skill. As you move up the leadership ladder, you will have increased demands on your time. You will have to manage your own work, the work of your team members and manage relationships at all levels of the organisation.

Setting boundaries means defining what is “ok” and what is not “ok”. It means defining where you place your attention, which habits you want to build, and which processes you set with others.

Enforcing boundaries can be difficult. It also often comes with consequences and might disappoint people. But by managing your boundaries, you will build trust, manage your emotional energy and lead by example.

In today’s episode, we dive into why boundaries are important and how you can implement them in your leadership.

The different types of boundaries:
Emotional, Material, Time, Physical & Mental.

These questions are here to help dive deeper into how you can implement these boundaries and discover more about where you stand with them. Try these:

  • Where do I need to set and define better boundaries for myself?
  • What are the areas that I am finding I have not really defined for myself? But are very important to me?
  • How much do I want to give myself?
  • Which area do I need to define and set better boundaries with others?

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Scroll down for this episode’s transcript.
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[00:00:00] Anne:

Welcome back to the Lead Like You show and I’m Anne Koopmann and I’m a leadership coach, facilitator, lecturer, and speaker, and I empower emerging leaders to lead with courage, emotional intelligence, and with their strength. In today’s episode, I’m going to share a few tips on how you can set your boundaries.

If you’re new to my channel and make sure that you subscribe so you don’t miss out on any further episodes.

And if you would love to learn more about your unique, authentic leadership superpower, the mixture you do might then make sure you head to to take the quiz and figure out your authentic leadership superpower today. And I will share with you practical tips that you can implement from today onwards to actually step into your authentic leadership.

So why is it important to talk about boundaries as leaders? Well, boundary setting is actually really important. If we want to lead others, we also have to start to understand what is it that we stand for?

As we move up the leadership ladder, we will have increased demands for our time and attention. We will have to manage upwards and downwards. We will start to have to manage budgets, customers, clients, lots of different stakeholders and our teams. We will have to manage our own work and the work of other people starting to become really clear of where we want to spend our time and emotional energy is actually key. Knowing and setting your boundaries is you showing of what you accept versus what you don’t accept. What is okay versus what is not okay. What you stand for versus what you not sta nd for. It’s also about setting your emotional and physical boundaries, your wellbeing boundaries, especially in these times where there’s so much happening in the world. And the work environment is very disruptive. It’s really important that you take care of yourself first.

So defining your boundaries means that you define where you want to place your energy and attention, how you want to work with others. And also what is really important to you.

Of course, it’s important to know that setting our boundaries and really holding onto our boundaries can be quite difficult, especially if it affects other people. And it can often mean that we have to disappoint others that we have to say no, that we have to actually say that we can’t help them and that sometimes might disappoint others and it might frustrate them and maybe they might get angry.

But the thing is the clearer you are about your boundaries, the easier it is also going to be for others to work with you because they will start to understand what they can and can’t do and what you stand for. It’s your responsibility to set your boundaries. Nobody’s going to set them for you. For an example at work if you spend a lot of time doing over time and you always go above and beyond, and you’re the last one in the office, it’s up to you to change that. The company, the organization, they will just take, take, take what they can get. And if you set this as your standard, that you will stay late, then they will expect you to pick up the phone at 8 or 9:00 PM.

So it’s up to you though, to own and hold your boundaries

By managing your boundaries, you will lead by example, manage your emotional energy and also create way more trust with the people that you lead. So let’s look at the most important areas for setting our boundaries.

So, first of all, we have our emotional boundaries. This is about the emotional energy that we give towards ourselves and towards others. How much do we want to invest into ourselves and into others?

Second of all, it’s about materials and possessions. Is what is important to us when it comes to what we own. And also, what do we want to share with others? How do we want others to treat our own possessions?

How can they use it? How do we want to share it? How do we expect it to be treated?

The third area is our time, how do we want to spend our time? How much do we want to give ourselves for the things that we need to do and how much time do you want to give to others and what time of day I’ll be available for others?

This also means looking at your balance, like how much dedicated time do you give your different areas in your life, your career, your friends, your family, your partner, your financial situations, your social activities, your creativity.

Then they’re physical boundaries, which is your direct environment and your body, of course. So what are the boundaries that you’re setting around that who is allowed to enter that personal space?

And it’s also about your appearance and how do you want to come across? How do you want to look? How much time do you want to invest in that?

And then lastly, it’s your mental boundaries. This is your thoughts, your beliefs, and how you want to show up your mental space and capacity.

Now, when we look at all these five areas, We want to start to ask ourselves the following four questions. This is just examples. You can go a bit deeper if you’d like, but start with these questions.

First of all, let’s look at the boundaries and just start to think what comes up when you look about it. What are you first thoughts? When I was just sharing these boundaries, did something pop into your mind straight away? Was there something that triggered you? What is it that came to mind?

Then second question, start to think about where do you lose most of your energy? What do you think, which boundary you’re not holding up properly yet, or you haven’t defined yet? Where do you feel like you’re drained the most?

And so after these initial reflections, let’s go a little bit more deeper and start to really think about what can we do about our boundaries.

For each of these areas start to ask yourself, where do you need to set and define better boundaries for yourself? What are the areas that you’re finding you have not really defined for yourself, but what’s really important to you and how much you want to give yourself? And then the fourth question for you to explore is where, and in which area do you need to define and set better boundaries with others?

And so when you’ve done all of that start to reflect on what actions can you actually take, where do you have to communicate your boundaries? Because often when others are not really holding up the boundaries that are important to us, they might not actually know about it. So what times can you set?

What expectations can you set about your availability? What schedules can you set for yourself? Just really start to think about what are the rules that you putting in place to protect your own boundaries? Don’t worry. I don’t expect you to start in all areas at once. Maybe pick one or two areas where you feel it will have the biggest impact and where you feel like it could be really important for you to invest a little bit of time to become really clear on what your boundaries actually are and how you can maintain and communicate them.

I would love to hear from you how this resonated, what are you going to put into place? What boundaries about your own personal space, your time, your energy. Are you going to put into place? I would love to hear how you going and I talk to you very soon.