How To Set Boundaries At Work

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Learn how to set boundaries at work. Before having an honest and open discussion with your manager, you'll need to ask yourself 3 important boundary-setting questions. Learn in this Explearning video about setting boundaries so that you can be happier at work (and more productive!)

Boundaries aren’t just about cross-gender interactions and gender dynamics.

Boundaries are also a lot about time and office place expectations of your colleagues and your managers. 

The question is: How to set boundaries at work within this specific context.

As with most things it comes down to clear communication. 

In this case it is about having a frank and open conversation with your manager about setting boundaries at work, and that’s what we’re Explearning today.

In this blog post, we’re discussing when and how to have the boundary-setting conversation with your manager.

Maybe you feel like work life is encroaching on your personal life or maybe you feel like you’re being overworked and maybe you’re feeling less productive because of it. 

So how do you have this somewhat difficult conversation?

Let’s jump right into it.

The first thing you want to do: figure out if your boundaries are in accordance with the company handbook or company culture.

For every person the boundaries are different, and they may or may not align with the company culture. 

Neither is necessarily right or wrong but if they don’t match then your issue is not about setting boundaries it is about transitioning to a different company whose ethos and culture match your personal expectations. 

Therefore, the assumption here is that your expectations do align with the company’s expectations, but your manager might be pushing you beyond what the company’s expectations are. 

In this situation, the onus is on you to set your boundaries. 

The best way to do this is with an open conversation with your manager but before you have that conversation you want to take the time to clarify for yourself 3 things: 

  1. what your specific boundaries are
  2. why those boundaries are important to you and 
  3. to ensure that they do in fact align with the company’s expectations

Once that has been established you can go to your manager and have a frank conversation, where you clearly outline why you have these expectations and how to make you happier and more productive.

At the end of the day the company wants happy employees, because happy employees are more productive employees.

What’s important not to do is to start implementing your boundaries without providing context to your manager.

Your manager is very attuned to your behavior. If you change it, particularly in a way that’s not aligned with their expectations, they will interpret that negatively. They’ll interpret it as you signaling you don’t want to be there; you’ve lost interest or inspiration. 

Therefore, it is very important to do this in an open and explicit way so that the manager has a clear understanding of why there will be this change in behavior. 

Try out these strategies when you need to have a talk with your manager about setting boundaries at work. 

Add it to your communication toolkit and strike that work life balance you’re looking for through clear and confident communication.

I’ll see you in the next lesson. 😊

Happy Explearning 🐝