A boundary makes me want to do only one thing- cross it. It is a temptation that I find difficult to control, specially when it is a actual physically visible boundary.

In the corporate world, I find myself in an interesting position of defining and defending my boundaries.

There are a few things that are loved and applauded more at work than:

  • Doing more than your job
  • Taking control and cross collaborating
  • Stretching the boundaries

Employee awards applaud employees who did not say, not my role, not my goal.

This practice became so pervasive that saying “no” not my job was met with a frown. You were seen as a difficult employee. Ownership was questioned or enthusiasm to take a challenge head on.

Time to pause.

A person is hired for a role. Roles are often not clearly defined. Boundaries not specified. Result – accountablilty is vague. Responsibility is clear.

The person in the role, now does what they think the role and a little bit of this and a little bit of that. No one wants to be “perceived” of as being difficult and so the actual job role changes to “role + this + that”


The role that the person was hired for suffers. They are seen as ineffecient. The this and that are always sweet extras that are appreciated but not what you are evaluated on.

So if a salesman – does active team building, process creating, defining customer erp – cool great. Appraisals will ask – where are the sales??

Setting healthy boundaries allows a person to push back. It is creating space to do that which you were meant to do.

A clear boundary also allows GAPS to emerge. This is not your role. This is not my role. We need someone for this ROLE.

GAP identification creates jobs, processes and effectiveness. Amorphous addition of tasks to pre existing roles- creates chaos, over worked employees and broken processes.

Encourage boundaries. Allow a NO to be said. Solve for the GAPS.

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