Establish boundaries and step out of the box

Ask everyone on the team to list their most important tasks (max. 10) in the next month. Then list the decisions that may need to made quickly. Do you have the authority to make these decisions yourself? Check with the team. 
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Happier teams

Establish boundaries and step out of the box

Imagine you are standing on a tenth-floor balcony with no railing. What are you doing? Probably standing still, right next to the door. Maybe you even have your eyes closed! However, if there is a railing, you’ll be brave enough to walk around the balcony. Why do we behave so differently even though both cases have the same amount of freedom?

The railing is a metaphor for the importance of establishing a clear framework for individual authority. According to self-determination theory, autonomy is one of our basic needs. We are more motivated when we can make our own decisions about how to complete our tasks. However, having no boundaries actually limits us, because if we do not know the boundaries of our decision-making, we do not dare to test new behaviors. What if I overstep my authority? There is also a risk that I will make a decision that affects someone negatively. However, if you clarify the limits of your colleague’s authority, they can feel secure and therefore free.