Hello SOTGC community,
I work in an industry chock full of emotion, power, and the need for boundaries. Wait. You too? I tease, but with today’s workforce as leaders it’s critical we lead healthfully within our power and boundaries. For many of my growing years I did not understand the absolute need for healthy functioning in stewarding my power and maintaining boundaries. As a result, my own health and relationships in the workplace and at home suffered.
How do you function within power and boundaries? Considering your functionality is not just meeting the need for growing a leadership skill. Healthy functioning within power and boundaries is connected to growth in character or integrity for any leader. And emotional engagement is a key to acting like a leader (click here for a post from leadership coach Connie Pheiff).
Every leader becomes a great leader when she becomes aware of her power (capacity and arena of influence) and the wise application of stewarding that power. Once a leader gains awareness, she can truly be a gift to those she works with and equips them to flourish as well.
What are some hindrances to awareness*?
- We don’t understand where the power comes from
- We don’t understand how to exercise it responsibly
- We don’t recognize our own natural boundaries
- We don’t allow ourselves to maintain needed boundaries
Awareness helps us see current reality so that we can make changes to what could be. That means stewarding our power wisely.
Every leader needs to be aware of the primary sources of power*
- Positional power—from your role or position in relation to others
- Personal power—from trust developed in relationships
- “Gifted” power—from the natural and inherent gifts you bring to the table
- Projected power—from the view others have of you or your value
- Relational power—from influence gained through formal and informal networks
- Cultural power—from a consciousness of community and groups that serves to empower
If we want to apply wisdom in stewarding your power, there are 4 things we must do:
- Identify and inventory our power
- Carefully steward our power so it support others
- Acknowledge and monitor dual relationships—when we have more than one role in a person’s life. Without the language and emotional maturity to talk about these complexities they inevitably lead to pain and hurt. With a more nuanced, multi-layered understanding of power and boundaries, we know who we are and who we are not with, and for, others.
- Differentiate to determine your own pace—Differentiate is the big word that means to be aware of what makes you different and unique. The task within relationships is to remain connected to people so that you are living as your “true self,” yet not allow your reactions or behaviors to be determined by them. This includes the use of boundaries, being mindful of your energy, current roles, current/preferred speed, current time, values, and purpose.
When we underuse our power out of fear, a need to be liked, or an aversion to conflict, we hurt people. When we overuse our power to manipulate and push, we also hurt people. Stewarding our power wisely requires we know our shadows and vulnerabilities and build in healthy safeguards, called boundaries.
Unpacking the wise application of boundaries:
Boundaries are present in relationships to both guard and protect. They serve to enhance relationships, thereby guarding and protecting both people. Boundaries are tied to your values and mission or purpose. When you are clear with your purpose, what you value and what your days are all about, it’s easy to allow things or people into your space. With healthy and helpful boundaries, the stewardship of your power becomes smoother. Want some tips on setting simple boundaries? Check out this post by Julie Barnes.
Well, my fellow workforce-warrior, there are some tips on applying wisdom in stewarding your power and maintaining boundaries. As author Pete Scazzero says, “If you are going to serve as a leader over the long haul, you will confront the complexity of power and wise boundaries.”
How can you grow in either first your awareness or secondarily your wise application?
Identify one past experience where you have failed to set a wise boundary with another in your leadership. Now how might you do it differently today?
I’d love to hear from you about how power and boundaries are applied in your workplace.
Connect with me and let me know how it goes!