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Friday, November 22, 2013

Empowerment Needs Boundaries

Every great leader knows he must empower his/her people to work autonomously if he wants to accomplish great things. But when you start your people on a journey to the land of empowerment, don't forget that they need boundaries. If you cut them loose without any direction, they will get lost and revert back to their old unempowered habits. Like the banks of a river, boundaries have the ability to channel energy in the right direction. A study was once done of a school playground in the middle of a big city. The playground was surrounded by the school on one side and three busy streets on the other sides. The children always played in the center of the playground or close to the side bordered by the school. Upon closer observation, it appeared the children were afraid to go close to the busy streets, for fear of what might happen to them (e.g., being hit by a car, kidnapped by a stranger, etc.). The school officials realized the potential danger and decided to install six foot fences around the playground. As soon as the fences were installed, the children began using the entire playground, no longer afraid of the busy streets. They would go right up to the fences to play and talk with one another - only a few feet from dangers that had terrified them before. They inherently understood there was safety and security in the boundaries. Inside the boundaries they felt complete freedom to do whatever their hearts desired. If you take away the boundaries, your people will lose their momentum and direction. Boundaries that create autonomy include: Purpose - what does your company do? Values - what are your company's operational guidelines? Goals - where is your company headed? Roles - who does what? Structure - how is your company organized? Culture - what is acceptable behavior? Don't send inexperienced people off alone and then punish them when they make mistakes. Establish clear boundaries that will free them to make decisions, take initiative, act like owners, and stay on track. Do you need assistance establishing appropriate boundaries with those you lead in your workplace, your home, your church, or in your community service role. Truth@Life can help. Call 248-396-6255 or email me at curtis.songer@gmail.com for a FREE consultation. For more info on help I can provide check out http://truthatlife.com/

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