It’s very important that leaders are clear about and enforce standards of acceptable behavior. You will never win long-term in an “anything goes” environment. Winning isn’t everything. Moreover, people will get easily confused if you take a situational approach to moral and ethical issues. If something is wrong for one person it is equally wrong for someone else (even in family businesses). One of my favorite quotes of all time is that “we are what we tolerate.”
I knew very little about the band Wilco when I went to see them in concert last month. Honestly I was going to see their warm-up act Nick Lowe (who is a musical legend in my book). Over the course of a month or so beforehand I went on iTunes and downloaded several songs so I could become more familiar with them. I liked what I heard and found them to be both original and creative which is what always should be happening in any art form. I also appreciate that there is a bit of an edge to their music. Formulas get old and boring fast even if they sell albums.
Most of this unhappiness, conflict and stress I see in the workplace and life these days comes down to an inability to establish healthy boundaries. By their very nature boundaries define us and indicate what are willing and not willing to tolerate. They are also a means to carve out what is important to us. Without boundaries you are simply making it up as you go along and dealing with life reactively without a compass.
Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you will be successful or happy. In fact, many people fill their time up with useless or non-essential activity. They run from meeting to meeting or event to event and wonder why the important stuff never gets done.