Leaders lead people, and managers manage things. Why? Because leading people determine the outcome. 

Leadership boundaries. What are they, and why do leaders need to have boundaries? Several aspects of a leader’s behavior make everything work, one of which is his or her “boundaries.” A boundary is a structure that determines what will exist and what will not…The leaders determine what will exist and what will not. 

I have struggled with this information and have always taught and communicated that leaders should NEVER set boundaries. I have always believed that leaders must expand their influence, expectations, and requirements. However, I recently engaged in a conversation about leadership boundaries with a group of leading experts. Through the discussions (I listened a lot more than I talked), I realized that highly successful leaders must set boundaries. I learned that boundaries would set limits, expectations, and standards and increase your influence.

What do leader boundaries look like at work? In my research and review of a book executive summary from “Boundaries for Leaders” written by Dr. Henry Cloud, I agree with his two most essential boundaries;

  • what you create 
  • what you allow

Let me share my interpretation of each boundary.

What you create

I consider a boundary as someone taking a stick and creating a line. It defines what our leadership is committed to and how it begins and ends. Think about this…….If you have people crossing the line, they support you based on your boundaries through your influential ways. 

Leaders create visions and strategic plans. Goals and objectives are built to support the vision, techniques, and strategies. Your team is invited to achieve their expected accomplishments when fully communicated successfully. Success is achieved through behaviors, interactions, and activities. 

What you allow

We all know leaders build the culture and allow the desired culture to exist. I’ve learned in my career that we all own the outcome. Dr. Henry Cloud stated, “the leaders’ boundaries define and shape what will be and what isn’t.” 

Our boundaries are personal and professional. What we allow ourselves to do and how we respond and react determines the outcome. In addition, the boundaries we set with our team will initially assess their commitment and if the goals and objectives are met.

What are the Results

By applying essential boundaries for leaders, we ensure certain things happen, prevent other things from happening, and keep it all going in the right direction. Leaders are a positive force for good and an opposing force against bad. You know what they are for and what they are against.

Boundary Quotes

“I set boundaries, not to offend but to respect myself”- Unknown

“Boundary setting helps you prioritize your needs over people’s wants” – Loren Kensen

“Opportunities become threats when we don’t have boundaries” – Dr. Henry Cloud

“A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect” – Unknown

“The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries, are the ones who benefitted from having none” – Unknown

Denis is an Executive Director for the John Maxwell Group and is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behaviorial Consultant. Denis is a senior safety professional and a strong, passionate influential person. He is committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques.  His unique, passionate, and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader. 

You can contact Denis at for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture training, DISC Behavioral consulting, or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.