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A healthy workplace culture: Leadership means setting fair rules and boundaries

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When it comes to healthy relationships setting and maintaining fair rules and boundaries is essential. In a marital relationship happiness is enhanced when each spouse knows the latitude of acceptable behavior and the expectations of performance the relationship is able to be built on trust. Children react best when firm boundaries of behavior are set and enforced consistently.

The same is true in the healthy workplace culture. Setting enforced boundaries is the best way to establish ethics and procedures.

Far too often boundaries become fuzzy because there is a lack of enforcement. If a specific area is set for employee parking or reserved for customers it must be followed at all levels. When upper management starts parking in the reserved spots a hierarchy is established that will carry over into other aspects of work far beyond parking.

There is often a prevailing sentiment, particularly among Baby Boomers, that senior executive have paid their dues and should get rewarded with special favors. That thinking does not have a place in the contemporary workplace. All employees are expected to contribute on somewhat equal footings nowadays. What this means is rules apply to everyone, not just select employees.

Of course the boomers can still get away with special perks but they will not enjoy maximized productivity.

Sam Walton, founder of the Walmart retail chain, believed that the common stock clerk was as important to the retailer as he was. After all, if the stock clerk did not get the merchandise on the shelf it did not matter what anyone else did. The same was true about the buyer in the home office. If the right merchandise was not purchase for the stock clerk to place on the shelf it did not matter how well he sold his company to investors as CEO.

Setting fair rules and boundaries recognizes Walton’s belief.

© Max Impact, used with permission.

Recommended books about workplace cultures

Additional resources about cultures

  • Culture Bridges are a look at the contents of the character within each of us. Information is contained on more than 20 different categories of culture.
  • Cultural Faux Pas is an interesting quiz about marketing mistakes made by others.
  • Culture Quizzes allow you to test your cultural IQ with fun and informative quizzes.


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