Question of The Week
What is the proper way to deal with people who consistently try to overstep relationship boundaries?
The workplace has multiple types of relationships: company-to-investors, employee-to-employer, company-to-vendor, company-to-contractor, company-to-client/customer, coworker-to-coworker. And when we look at other non-profit or civic organizations, we’ll find very similar types of relationships. With each of these relationships come certain boundaries. The position description sets boundaries. The security clearance and information access sets boundaries. Keys and passes set boundaries. Those who step outside of the boundaries typically find themselves further restricted, or even released from their role in the organization. But those who are successful respect the boundaries, while demonstrating behavior that proves they can be trusted with greater influence, greater authority and fewer restrictions.
Knowing and staying in our place is critical for our personal success, and the success of the organization. When contractors and vendors are said to be “just like one of the family”, they must remember that it is significantly different from actually being one of the family. When leaders and supervisors get too friendly and casual with their staff, it is natural to expect a lapse in responsiveness, a decrease in productivity and an erosion of respect for their authority. When company representatives engage in company-confidential conversations with the client, you can rest assured it will eventually have a major impact on business. On the other hand, when everyone respects boundaries, things go far better and the overall mission is accomplished!
Within organizations, sometimes personal relationships develop. In some cases, some personal relationships are prohibited and that boundary should not be crossed. However, for those personal relationships that are permissible, it is absolutely critical to remember that the professional / organizational boundaries always override the personal boundaries.
GIVE YOUR FEEDBACK TO THESE QUESTIONS:
- How do we go above and beyond without crossing boundaries?
- How do we prove we are capable of being trusted beyond our boundaries without crossing those boundary lines?