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"Research shows that 60% to 80% of all difficulties at work have to do with strained relationships," says Van Moody, author of The People Factor (Thomas Nelson; January 2014). As a leadership consultant, Moody saw a startling theme running through many organizations: The careers of talented and gifted employees were being derailed by an inability to effectively handle relationships.
"Healthy relationships at work can propel you to great heights of achievement; dysfunctional or toxic ones will tether you to mediocrity," says Moody. "Your success at work depends on your ability to set the kinds of boundaries that encourage mutual respect and keep the focus on productivity."
He offers four ways an entrepreneur can set boundaries in their workplace:
"An inordinate amount of time is wasted at work," says Moody. "If employees are engaging in gossip or spending a lot of time around the water cooler, it can be a sign that they aren't being properly guided in terms of what needs to get done."
Instead, Moody suggests that small-business owners set weekly goals. Misuse of time happens when responsibilities and expectations are not spelled out.
"If you don't communicate what's tolerated and what's not, you can't hold employees to those expectations," he says. "The idea is to establish a culture in your company of what is acceptable."
But establishing boundaries once is not enough. Moody says small-business owners must communicate it over and over again. This can be done through monthly emails or during meetings.
"It's important that your staff knows what you stand for and what to expect from you," he says. "Then, don't waiver."
Also, don't contradict your words. You can communicate all day who you are, but if you don't play that role, you will undo everything you say.
"From time to time, it will be necessary to course-correct and bring people back to things that matter," he says. "The bottom line is that are no neutral relationships - they lift you up or weigh you down. The most important thing you can do is to embrace this by working to maintain healthy relationships."
This article was originally posted on www.entrepreneur.com and written by Stephanie Vozza, Dec. 30, 2013.