Setting boundaries

By Heiske Nonnekes

This week I had a challenge with my daughter.

She is 6 years old and was already sabotaging the morning routine for a couple of weeks. We really had to chase her to be ready in time to go to school. Having breakfast, dressing up, brushing hair and teeth, everything was a fight. And if something went in a different way she had in mind, she cried and yelled and showed disrespectful behavior.

My 6 year old daughter

This week I was fed up with this pattern. It was time to set clear boundaries. I gave her some clothes and told her she had a decision: or dress up in time or go to school in her pajamas.

When it was time to go to school she was still in her pajamas, so I moved her to my bike to go to school in her night suit. That of course resulted in a drama. I told her I had to bring her brother to school, left her at home with the instruction to dress up, brush teeth and hair and be ready at the front door when I returned. I felt miserable to leave my 6 year old home alone while she was completely over the edge.

To my surprise she was waiting for me in front of the door when I returned. She was ready to go to school and had even done her hair by herself. It was quite a relief to see her standing there all prepared and I wondered if this event would have the impact I had in mind.

The next morning was the test case of course. I can tell that she did the morning routing smoothly, without any help and was ready to go to school half an hour in advance.

Yes, I am sharing this personal story with a reason.

We often work with teams (of grown-ups ;-)) that want to achieve a better team performance. Also here clarity about desired behavior is key to mature as a team. So define team values, translate this to behavior you want to see, set boundaries (what consequences we agree upon when behavior is not in line with expectations) and live up to it!