Strategy

EP 02: The Top 3 Boundaries You MUST Set With Your Clients and Your Team and How To Do It

December 27, 2021

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I'm Jillian — Online Business Manager  and encourager for Creatives like you! 

Meet Jillian

Join your host, Jillian Dolberry, your “pocket online business manager,” in bi-weekly episodes of The Grace-Filled CEO podcast, the resource you’ve been waiting for to manage all the parts of your life.

Jillian speaks directly to the woman wearing many hats (you know you’re living at least some of them): mom, wife, and caretaker … or boss, a writer, a daughter, a sister, a friend, even a CEO. If you’re going to succeed at any or all of them, it’s going to take a lot of work! And Jillian is here to show you exactly how, with timely conversations and solid resources, sprinkled with a little grace for you, your work, and all of the roles you fill! Find this and more on The Grace-Filled CEO podcast.

Be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts or at www.jilliandolberry.com/podcast. You can also continue the conversation with Jillian on Instagram at @jilliandolberry.

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Not up for listening? Read the transcript below! 🤓👇

You are listening to episode number 2 of “The Grace-Filled CEO” and I am so excited you are joining me today. Today’s episode is all about setting boundaries with your clients, your team, and ultimately yourself. We’ve all experienced those late-night emails, texts, Voxers, or Slack messages that ding from across the room, only to jolt us back into work mode. While we could say “it’s ok, I love what I do!” we know that those two aren’t mutually exclusive. Just because you love what you do, doesn’t always mean it’s the best thing to be pulled back in when you are taking a step away from your business. You need that step away! But there is a way to support your team and your clients, for them to feel that, and to set boundaries. Let’s dive in.

Now before we get into today’s episode, I want to share a resource with you that I think you will love!

This episode is sponsored by my free resource, Manage Your Boundaries, Energy, and Time Like a CEO. Because I know you’re a busy woman and you probably don’t have time to read a 50-page e-book or watch a 20 min video, I have summed this resource up in an audio format (with a transcript of course). In addition to that, it comes with a guided diagram to walk you through where you are feeling the tension in your business and action steps to take to resolve it in a healthy way, as well as email scripts to communicate with your clients through points of tension or conflict. Who doesn’t want that?! Feeling that constant pull, like you are giving too much of yourself to your clients, but not sure how to NOT do that? Start with this resource. The link is in the show notes!

Alright now let’s get to the show!

The quickest way to feel free in your business is to set boundaries today. With your clients, your team, and yourself. While I will wholeheartedly tell everyone and their mother that boundaries are important, I also know the discomfort they can bring before they bring that sense of freedom. When you take that courageous step to set a boundary with anyone, it’s almost like throwing out a solid throw in dodgeball and hoping you don’t get knocked back over in return. Because if we are being honest, boundaries aren’t fun or easy for anyone involved. They always feel hard and fast. They rarely feel gentle. But the magic happens when the right boundary is put into place. It not only provides capacity and peace for the person setting it, but it will inevitably do the same for the person the boundary was set with. What once felt like sandpaper will eventually feel smooth. Together we are going to take a practical look at what boundaries you need today and what it looks like to set them with yourself, your clients, and your team.

The first place to explore boundaries is in setting EXPECTATIONS:

What does this look like in establishing expectation boundaries for yourself?

  • Some questions to consider – How much you can get done, practically? What goals are realistic? What will you allow yourself to engage in? Where do you typically feel like that boundary gets crossed in what you expect from yourself?

I am a 2w1 on the enneagram, and where I typically fall out of balance here is I have these impossible standards for myself that I will never reach. If I am being really transparent, I expect a level of perfection that I am trying to rob from my creator and that’s hurtful on so many levels. And it trickles outward and bleeds all over everything I do. If I don’t meet the standard, I get irritable which leads to getting annoyed that dinner isn’t ready at the time I want it to be, or that the person driving in front of me is driving too slow – it could be anything and its usually everything. We protect ourselves from this by setting a boundary on what we expect from ourselves.

  • So back to the questions- How much you can get done, practically? What goals are realistic? What will you allow yourself to engage in? Where do you typically feel like that boundary gets crossed in what you expect from yourself? What standard do you hold yourself to and is it healthy and/or possible?

When looking into your business, at your clients, and your team, we rephrase those questions slightly.

  • What do you expect out of your team? What can they expect from you?
  • What do you expect from your clients? And What can they expect from you?

In ways, you feel like there is a gap here, there is an opportunity for growth. That’s all conflict is – it’s a gap between where we are and where we want to be, which is essentially like taking a highlighter and illuminating ways you can grow together.

The next area to explore boundaries is in COMMUNICATION:

The first place to take inventory here is: how would you rate communication on a scale 1-10? Rate that for your team, client, and self.

  • How well do you communicate with your team?
  • How well do you communicate with your clients?
  • How well do you communicate with yourself? — whether through mindfulness or journaling – You cannot set efficient boundaries in communication if you aren’t willing to check in with yourself. A general question you can ask yourself is, what do I need right now? It’s that simple.

Setting boundaries in communication looks like the who/when/what/where/how.

  • Who will communicate with who
  • When will they expect communication
  • What can they expect to be communicated
  • Where can they expect to be communicated with (so many great options outside of email like Voxer, Slack, Zoom, Google meet)
  • How will they be communicated with? voice, written response, video

When people know what to expect in this, you are setting a boundary that if you have your team meeting at 9:30 am, then 6 pm the night before is not an acceptable time to bring your thoughts to the table.

Document these things for your team and clients, and put them somewhere where they can access them, but also remind them through your actions. That is key; they’ll feed off of that.

The next area to explore setting boundaries is in WORKING HOURS:

Listen, when you are a CEO who takes 10 min breaks after a meeting to play Legos, color a picture, or potty train, this will be unique to you and your situation. We often think that when life is in the “work when I can” stage, that all other office hours go out the window, but that doesn’t have to be the case. The best wisdom I can point you to is answering this question based on your values, what is right, right now? The answer will vary, and it should. And while I will forever be a believer in the ability to have that flexibility, that does not mean your clients and team can have access to you at any time. Working hours are just as important for the work-from-home mom who has gracefully chosen to be CEO and MOM at the same time. That’s not a grievance, it’s a gift. It’s not easy, but it’s pretty extraordinary.

So, when thinking about those unique work hours…

  • Start with figuring out what hours of the day you can be your best self for your business. (your family gets the best version of you period – no exceptions)
  • Give your team “support hours” if that’s necessary
  • For both your team and clients, give them realistic expectations of what your capacity is. Maybe that means keeping clients to email communication and not being available to hop on a video call when they have one question that turns into 20 minutes of conversation.
  • Equip your team to help with the client communication in order to protect your energy
  • Equip your team to support each other. Have a team member be the hub of knowledge for something in their wheelhouse. If another team member has a question, they can go to another team member to find the answer.
  • Equip your team to support themselves through the “three before me” method. Look in three different places for your answer before you come to me.
  • Lastly, turn off notifications. If necessary, have one team member have access to you outside of work channels, and educate them on what classifies as worthy to contact you outside of those hours.

You are not crazy, selfish, or too bossy by claiming this in your business. You are a CEO who is protecting her finite energy so she can be a boss, a mom, a friend, a servant, a wife, and a healthy woman – and rock at all of them.

At the end of the day, we are the ones who hold boundaries, not others. Meaning: our boundaries are only crossed when we allow them to be. It’s more of a mental game than we’d like to admit because it saves us energy to say “ok here is my boundary, now abide by it” but that’s like planting a garden and not tending to it. It will die and become a past memory of the thing “you mentioned in that meeting once that was a great idea, but it didn’t take.”

We set the tone of respect for our own boundaries and if we care for them, others will too. And if they don’t, you built an off-boarding process for them and that’s ok, too. 🙂

Alright friends, that is it for this episode! Are you ready to manage your boundaries, energy, and time like a CEO? If so, I have this really awesome tool and mini-training you need to check out and it’s completely free. If you feel like there are some unhealthy points of tension or that there is something being compromised, this will help you diagnose it and outline the steps to take in gaining freedom from it. Visit the link in the show notes to download.

You’ve got this – I am cheering you on!

Before you leave, subscribe to the show and connect with me on Instagram! I will look forward to seeing you there.

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