So, you might have read my other post about boundaries…if you haven’t, may I suggest you at least scan it? I will write this post as if assuming you have read that other one.
If you read my other blog post, you know that boundaries are essential in our relationships and even as we manage our own emotions. Being able to set limits for ourselves and others in our lives is important, and two key elements to doing this are practice and good communication.
Boundaries don’t just apply to our personal lives, as in our closest relationships with family, friends, and in romantic relationships. Having healthy boundaries is also incredibly valuable in our professional lives.
What kind of boundaries are important at work? Off the top of my head, here are a few:
Saying “no” and respecting others’ “no”
Good time management
Standing up for oneself
Apologizing or holding oneself or others accountable for actions
Asking for what you need
I’m sure we could all brainstorm and come up with more!
As I wrote in my last post, boundaries are essentially setting limits for ourselves and for others. This does not mean creating a bunch of rules we need to follow or that we expect others to follow. Instead, it is more like what you’re OK with and what you’re not OK with. And this looks different in a friend relationship than with a professional colleague. We have the option to tell others if something bothers us or doesn’t work for us. Their choices may impact how we interact with others. We can’t make someone do what we want, but we can choose how we will react to their actions.
We must take different things into account with our coworkers than with our friends. A coworker is not always a friend, and even if they are, the level of knowledge and understanding you have with that person might be very different from what you have with close friends. Sometimes a coworker could be very similar to you, or very different – or somewhere in between. There could also be vastly different maturity levels with a coworker.
None of these differences mean we shouldn’t address conflict with a coworker or set boundaries at work. They do mean we need to find professional ways to set our limits with those we work with. It helps to get to know the people you work most closely with and to develop a professional knowledge and trust level with them. They don’t need to be our best friends, but hopefully, they can be at least pleasant relationships.
In order to set good boundaries for ourselves we also need to know what we are OK with and what we’re not.
For example, you may be driven to work way more than 40 hours per week. Or you may keep to a strict 40-hour work week – either way, this is important information! If we know our personal limits, we can better communicate them to others. For example, if I have a reason that I can’t work past 5 pm each night I need to be sure to tell my leader(s). If a coworker constantly tries to get me to help them past 5 pm, I would need to explain that I can’t help them at that time, and we would need to find another time for us to work together.
For another example, maybe I’m someone who tends to overwork myself and have realized that I’ve been working 50 hours a week and it’s not allowing me to have much of a personal life and I want to change that. I will need to learn to set boundaries for myself to help me to cut back on overworking. I might also talk with coworkers or my superiors to work out how to manage my time at work better. Sometimes I might have to say “no” to extra, nonessential work.
There are a lot of other areas where we need to consider what we are OK or not with, and when we want to speak up. Being able to resolve an issue or conflict is important to be able to have a productive and enjoyable working environment!
Many people struggle with how to set their own boundaries at work. It’s a common topic for many people in my life, not just my clients! I’ve had to struggle through how to set good boundaries for myself – sometimes for no reason, because the people I talked to were so open to hearing from me! And, sometimes it was harder, but looking back I’m so thankful I was able to stand up for myself! The more we practice setting healthy boundaries, the stronger we get at it. I wouldn’t say it gets easier…but if we have become stronger at it, it’s not as hard.
If this is something you have struggled with, there are lots of people talking about it and creating resources on this topic.
Similar to my other post, I highly encourage you to find people who you witness having excellent boundaries and ask them how they learned. Maybe even find someone to mentor and encourage you as you grow in this area. You could even talk it over with a friend or two and inspire each other to learn more about boundaries and to apply them, especially at work.
Of course, this is also a fantastic subject to address with a counselor! Come meet with one of us and let us help you to process what you think about boundaries, how to set them, and what might be holding you back or making it hard.
The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant words are persuasive.
Discretion is a life-giving fountain to those who possess it, but discipline is wasted on fools.
From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive.
Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Begin Working With An Online Therapist in North Carolina
Creating healthy boundaries is much easier said than done. At our therapy practice in Smyrna, GA you can start to create lasting boundaries at work and in other areas of life. If you are ready to meet with a counselor you can feel comfortable with follow these simple steps:
Schedule your first therapy appointment
Start establishing new boundaries
Other Counseling Services We Offer in Smyrna, GA
In an effort to provide you with counseling services that meet your needs, our caring counselors offer a variety of therapeutic services for teens and adults. We are happy to offer support via therapy for anxiety, depression, stress, and burnout. Our team also provides life transitions therapy and trauma therapy. Our marriage counselors provide support for your relationship through Christian marriage counseling. We also offer pastoral care and Christian counseling. With online therapy, these services are available to anyone in the Atlanta area or throughout Georgia.