business boundariesWhat is a boundary? Think of it as an invisible force field that surrounds you. It protects you and your values. We have personal boundaries and professional boundaries. For the purpose of this discussion we will focus on professional boundaries.

Sometimes boundary invasion is very obvious. Other forms of invasion are subtle enough that we may not recognize them for what they are – then wonder why we feel irritated when they occur. We may question if we have the right to feel irritated. This is especially true when the person invading our boundaries is a client!

By recognizing what constitutes an invasion of our boundaries, we can respond appropriately, without feeling guilt. We must also remember that everyone has boundaries, and do our best to respect them. Here are some common examples of boundary invasion:

 1.  Repeated requests for time or assistance that ignore valid refusals – or, go on to require far more time or effort than what was originally agreed to.

 2.  Borrowing items with permission, but not returning them. Or, not returning them on time, or returning them damaged.

 3.  Helping yourself to some else’s office supplies, materials, or personal property as a matter of course without asking for permission.

 4.  Continuing a conversation after it’s clear the other party has ended the discussion, or has indicated they must leave. “Before you go, just one more thing!”

 5.  Committing someone else to a task or project without their prior authorization.

 6.   Physical crowding; invading your personal space. (This may be a cultural issue. Different cultures vary tremendously in the amount of personal space between two people that is socially acceptable.)

 7.  Any kind of snooping; such digging through your desk, looking in your purse or briefcase, poking around with your iPad.

 8.  Repeatedly asking for personal information or asking personal questions despite prior, obvious refusals.  (“I don’t want to talk about it!”)

 9.  Being asked to go against your values or better judgment. Any type of coercion, no matter how mild. (“I know you said you couldn’t do this, Bob, but what if…”)

 10. Keeping people waiting; not keeping appointments; and generally disrespecting someone’s time.

What can you do when someone is invading your boundaries? First, recognize that not everyone is going to “get the hint” and it’s up to you to defend yourself. Repeat offenders will need to have the issue spelled out and be given a specific consequence. Be polite, be clear, and stick to your guns. “Mr. Client, I’m doing my best to sell your home, but if you cancel another showing appointment, I will need to refer you to another agent.”

Always remember the golden rule – treat others as you want to be treated!

Bob Corcoran

rsz_1bob_corcoran-200x300Corcoran Coaching, spearheaded by Nationally Acclaimed Real Estate Speaker and Coach Bob Corcoran teaches Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Teams and Real Estate Agents how to create and implement cost effective real estate operational, business and sales systems that have a proven decade long track record of successfully driving their clients to their next level of sales productivity.

Performance-based coaching and accountability are the cornerstones of outstanding programs that teach real estate database management, lead generation capture and conversion systems, effective advertising along with lead capture, follow up and performance accountability. Isn’t it time you invested in yourself?