State your borders
You formulate goals and criteria, principles of communication and collaboration, which are not debatable. They form the borders of every discussion.
- It is essential for me that we respect the timing and the budget.
- It is a given that we have to bring values to life in the coming six months within the budget and time.
- I want to speak about almost anything as long as we listen and try to understand each other.
- I would explore your proposal to do things differently, but looking at the workload and the priorities we have at the moment, I think we can’t do so because it will endanger projects and priorities that have already been decided on.
Stating your borders is an active intervention. Its purpose is to make people a bit more passive in the sense that they stop looking for answers outside the defined criteria/framework.
If you watch your tone of voice, if you explain the reasons behind the limitations and if you don’t exaggerate (too many criteria can make people really passive and block creativity), people will perceive this on the We-side and often see it as a way of receiving positive direction and structure.
Respecting SCARF (status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, fairness) leads to ownership, identification and recognition.
In this intervention you are using your own status as a leader to formulate possibilities and limitations. However, when they are real and realistic, they will give people structure and certainty. A clear framework makes it possible for people to develop their autonomy, since theyknow what is possible and what is not. Clear borders that are realistic and the same for everybody also stimulate the sense of fairness. When borders stay ambiguous, there is room for interpretation and subjectivity.