One can’t overestimate the importance of learning to listen well (a skill which represents a deliverable in and of itself). Workers are dependent upon you, as both business owner and de facto team leader, to perceive the nuances of their comments and actions.

Individuals who love supporting one another in the workaday environment represent the cohesive “glue” of a thriving company. Yet such commendable employees may be in danger of burnout. Are we experiencing a kind of existential exhaustion from the act of over-collaboration?

Collaboration, Boundaries, and Listening Well

Collaboration, Boundaries, and Listening Well

Consider the employee (and, by extension, team) who says “yes” to everything … every project, every request for information, every appeal for coworker guidance. But dedication isn’t a bad quality, right? No, but a lack of defined boundaries can lead to that person/team unintentionally becoming overwhelmed and tired, which is never good for productivity and morale.

The solution is not complicated: the owner (you!) needs to install a work culture laying out a clear structure for boundaries in all areas. To empower your employees to recognize and, more importantly, be comfortable coming forward before any task or request gets to the point of spirit-crushing paralysis. Determining, for example, when it’s time to outsource part or all of a particular project. The company’s health may depend upon doing so!

I also subscribe to the view that a business – though not a real flesh-and-blood being – has a responsibility to maintain stability, to continue employing people who depend upon the work. Thus the human beings who run said business – and ascribe to common values – are duty-bound in striving to keep it going strong.

Think about why you started a business. To create needed income … solve a problem … create jobs … add sustainability to our society. All of the above, I’ll wager. Remember that your business is separate from the people in it, and keep listening and promoting boundaries to foster growth!

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Are you working to develop your listening skills? Is your team at ease setting boundaries on their collaborative efforts? Please tell us how all these elements, taken together, impact your small business growth!

And be certain to read the first two article in this series:

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