list of words

Helene Bonne

Author, Jobindex
8th of July 2020


A survey by Jobindex shows that 84% have experienced cross-border behaviour from their boss. Are you one of those people who overstep boundaries in your attempt to exercise your leadership? Then stop. Developing trust is the answer, according to communication and management consultant Vibeke Hartkorn. Get her 5 tips here.

A survey by Jobindex shows that 84% of Danish employees have experienced a boss overstepping their boundaries. More than 8 out of 10 employees in Danish workplaces have experienced felt that their personal boundaries were crossed by a boss with a harsh tone, controlling, threats or too personal/private behaviour … the list is long.

Independent communication consultant, board member and author Vibeke Hartkorn is an established coach and consultant promoting career development, training personal assertiveness and stakeholder communication, and believes that as a manager you should work on developing trust to reduce the risk of acting in a cross-border manner and promoting good examples.

Here are Vibeke’s answers to 4 tough questions about cross-border behaviour.


How do we bring down the high 84% figure?

The most important thing is to bring up the topic of cross-border behaviour, so that talking about it comes naturally.

So talk about it, target it and support the wanted behaviour with exact initiatives and clear feedback communication – and you’ll be well on your way to getting good numbers on the human bottom line.


What does it take from management?

All managements should have a clear policy on the subject and a set of initiatives limiting transgressive behaviour and promoting propriety, which employees can respond to in the annual employee engagement survey as well as managers being measured on the ability to manage well. It should also be part of all performance reviews. Developing trust should be a strategic tool alongside anything else that drives business development.


What should managers be self-aware of?

First of all, as a manager, you don’t know how you come across. The only way to find out is to ask the people you engage with. Some managers don’t understand that a touch can be transgressive (“I’m just a loving person”) or that a rough tone of voice can demotivate and scare (“I think I’m a strong leader when I show that I am serious about what I say “). If the manager has the company’s policy on the matter to rely on, it will not be a lonely task to find the path through employees individual feelings about what is right and wrong. Then there is a clear and safe path to follow.

The most important thing as a manager, however, is not to bury your head in the sand and pretend there are no problems. Take all enquiries seriously and act on your own common sense of what is going on. Ask one too many questions rather than one too few, because you risk losing your best people if you pretend nothing is wrong. Make it common to address taboos in the team in a respectful way where you don’t shame each other. And always have conflict talks one-to-one – never in plenary – and follow up by telling everyone in the team what you’ve acted on and why. Your staff’s trust in you will increase if you actually enforce the framework of good behaviour.

5 simple tips for the manager:

  • Recruit new employees not only for their professionalism and experience but also for their human bottom line: the way they behave in the world. This requires you to take references about the person.
  • Together with your team, you can develop feedback communication that will align with the company’s code of conduct. Therefore, encourage your top management to develop and enforce principles of propriety.
  • Have frequent 1:1 dialogue with your employees and your business partners where personal behavior is on the agenda. This requires you to work on trust in order to make people dare to show openness.
  • Give appreciative feedback out in the open when you experience behavior you want to promote and take it behind closed doors when you experience unwanted behavior. This requires you to be constantly aware and take action.
  • Make it visual in your workspace when you are a good colleague and communicate in a lighthearted, positive, and humorous way. This requires you to constantly develop your behavioral communication.



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Feel free to call or e-mail our CEO, Vibeke Hartkorn, if you wish to know more about what we can do for you personally or the company you represent. We take non-binding meetings to get to know you.