How to Establish Better Boundaries in your Workplace

22 Aug

FinallyFastBusiness tips from the Finally Fast team

You may not believe it, but learning to say no is often the key to advancing your career. Although one often receives plenty of positive feedback when they are the go-to person in a workplace, over time the work they produce is often rushed because they’re overwhelmed on a regular basis. With proper workplace boundaries, you’re producing much better work and not spreading yourself thin.

When we talk about interpersonal or workplace boundaries, it can sometimes be a difficult concept to grasp because it isn’t something that we can see. But just because we can’t see a boundary, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there or that it isn’t important.  Boundaries are present whenever a person or department interfaces with another person or department. The definition of a boundary is the ability to know where you end and where another person begins. When we talk about needing space, setting limits, determining acceptable behavior, or creating a sense of autonomy, we are really talking about boundaries.

Defining Your Boundaries

Although an individual’s professional boundaries can often be defined in terms of a job description, many times job descriptions define work responsibilities in terms that are too broad and general. In such cases, specific clarification of an individual’s duties and responsibilities will be required before an effective and efficient workplace can be created. And you’re the person who will have to do that clarification.

The first thing you need to do is to find out exactly what your boundaries are. If you don’t know your boundaries, how can you communicate them to anyone? Monitor your performance of a workweek, and note how many tasks you can perform comfortably. Also take into consideration how many days a week that you work through lunch, how many weekend days you work for free, and how many favors that you do for your co-workers.

Setting Your Priorities

Next, list these behaviors according to how much they further your career or generate income for you. Highlight the behaviors that are doing nothing for your career. These are the behaviors that you want to eliminate. The ones you are left with should be the sorts of behaviors that you would discuss at your next performance review.

Communicate Your New Priorities

The following Monday, communicate your new priorities to your coworkers through your responses. It may seem like the best thing to do would be to send out a manifesto email first thing in the morning, but less is actually more, and people will quickly pick up on your new perspective. When someone attempts to take you with something that’s inappropriate, simply say that you’re busy with a task that is more important, or has a deadline.

Performance Reviews

Finally, when it’s time to discuss your employee performance with your manager, describe the behaviors that you’ve listed on your record and their results. And keep this record handy so you can say on track.

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