Tuesday Morning Book Review || Boundaries for Leaders

bookEvery Tuesday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s book is Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge (kindle version) by Henry Cloud.

The primary message of this book is as a leader, you get what you create and what you allow. 

This message is crucial for pastors and church leaders. Many pastors and leaders allow things that are frustrating, get the church off mission or cause division or create a culture that is not welcoming or one that won’t allow for growth.

This becomes especially true the longer a leader leads a church. The church begins to take on their personality and passions.

The point of this book for leaders is, you are in charge, start acting like it.

Here are a few things worth writing down:

  • Leaders can motivate or demotivate their people. They can propel them down a runway to great results, or confuse them so that they cannot clearly get from A to Z. They can bring a team or a group together to achieve shared, extraordinary goals, or they can cause division and fragmentation. They can create a culture that augments high performance, accountability, results, and thriving, or cause a culture to exist in which people become less than who they are or could be. And most of the time, these issues have little to do with the leader’s business acumen at all . . . but more to do with how they lead people and build cultures.
  • Leadership is about turning a vision into reality;
  • Whatever culture you have, you are either building it or allowing it.
  • What are boundaries? They are made up of two essential things: what you create and what you allow.
  • The leaders’ boundaries define and shape what is going to be and what isn’t.
  • Besides giving direction, good leadership boundaries also establish the norms and behaviors that drive success. They build unity and energy. They focus that energy and attention on what is important. They build optimism and empower people to do what they truly have the power to do to drive results. They set the conditions and standards for great teams and culture,
  • Leadership must set the stage and ensure that: What is important is always being attended to—attention. What is not important or destructive is not allowed in—inhibited. There is ongoing awareness of all the relevant pieces required to fulfill the task—working memory.
  • If executive functions of the brain are working well, and people are structured enough to focus, inhibit, and be conscious of what is important, they can execute the following list of behaviors, which actually are involved in producing results.
  • The way the curve works is that as stress goes up, performance goes up—until a certain point. If the stress gets too high, the curve goes the other way and performance diminishes.
  • As the person in charge of setting emotional boundaries, your job is twofold. First, do everything possible to create “good fear,” the positive performance anxiety that activates healthy stress. The drive that says, “If I get with it, I can get something good and avoid something bad.” Second, diminish destructive fear, which is communicated through tone, lack of structure, and the threat of relational consequences—anger, shame, guilt, and withdrawal of support.
  • That is what people need from their leaders, the knowledge that their leader is for their success, and if a mistake is made, that leader will stand beside them and help them learn and improve, not punish them.
  • Unity grows when people come together around a shared purpose or goal.
  • You cannot lead them to another place if they do not feel like you understand the place that they are in.
  • Before you try to move people to your position, make sure they feel that you understand where they are coming from, what they are feeling, and what they are dealing with.
  • The prevailing thinking patterns of a team or an organization—its norms and belief systems—will define what it is and what it does.
  • The reasons organizations get stuck in one way of thinking are manifold, but one of the main causes is the failure of a leader to spot negative thinking and effectively set boundaries that prevent it from taking root while also making sure that optimism rules.
  • Research has revealed time and again that a belief that one will be successful is one of the strongest predictors of goal achievement. Great leaders build this belief into their people, teams, and culture. They believe that they can do it, and when things get tough, they find a way
  • Focus your people on what they have control of that directly affects the desired outcomes of the organization.
  • The higher you go in leadership, the fewer external forces act upon you and dictate your focus, energy, and direction. Instead you set the terms of engagement and direct your own path, with only the reality of results to push against you.
  • Great leaders simply don’t buy the old saying that it is lonely at the top, even if they do accept that the buck stops with them. When it does stop with you, the last thing you need to be is isolated
  • One of the most performance-limiting and devastating ways of thinking is to overidentify with a particular result.

If you are a leader, this is definitely a book you need to pick up and work your way through.