“How is it possible that everyone in my life is an idiot?”
When I’m being a petty micro-manager, then I know I need something. I need sleep. I need a break. Honestly, it means I’m not handling my professional boundaries appropriately.
Professional Boundaries are Healthy: Codependency, resentment, and “powering through” are not.
Yes. It is okay to acknowledge that you need a break. That you are at the end of your rope. And, it’s even better to create these boundaries and communicate them prior to getting to that point of burnout. Perhaps you have a codependent coworker. Or, a colleague who is essentially “retired in-place”. Maybe, you’re working with a boss whose expectations are sky-high, even when your job description includes almost none of the tasks or projects you are frequently asked to do. No matter who you are dealing with, there are opportunities for healthy boundary management.
This post will be a little more direct and to the point than navigating sexual boundaries or boundaries with parents in our earlier discussions about codependency and boundaries. I want to give you actionable steps to take for various situations. Of course, healthy boundaries extend to the workplace! We spend a large portion of our lives working, and those are often most of our waking hours for a least a few years. You know the terms “work wife” or “work family”, right? There’s a reason those are used! And, just like any close relationship, we need to exercise healthy boundaries with coworkers, supervisors, and clients.
Workplace Boundaries for the “Auto-Advice Giver”
Are you an auto-advice giver? “oOo, I know!” Sure. I’m glad you do! But, you don’t need to jump right in and say it every time. Your tendency to jump right in automatically actually gets in the way of what that person needs to learn from this moment. From this experience. You could actually be taking away the urgency that is propelling them toward their own answers. Reframe: How could that attention or energy actually be used for yourself? You say you don’t have any time, but is it because you are living everyone else’s life? Because you’re solving everyone else’s problems? Give yourself that gift of your own brilliance and re-focus that energy on your life. Your coworkers will come to you when they want your help, and it will mean that much more because they are seeking it out.
How much asking for help is too much? Workplace boundaries for the relied upon.
You’re the go-to person people ask every time. All the time. In fact, one coworker seems to not know how to problem-solve on their own. Or, (see above) has gotten used to you just answering for them and refuses to do their work on their own.
Some things you could consider asking when a coworker is constantly asking for help:
- What do you think you need to do?
- What would you like from me on this call?
- How can I be for you?
- How can I best support you right now?
General tips (and scripts) for healthy workplace boundaries:
Don’t send an email mad. Take a beat. Take a breath. Then, if you still need to send a strong email, you are able to do it mindfully. Not reactively.
If you aren’t required to give your personal phone number or other information (including social) to clients or other coworkers, make it a personal policy that you do not. Keep the lines clear between personal and professional life so you can get a true “break” when you need one.
Determine when you are most effective and efficient, or at least what your needs are in the workplace. Script for managing time and energy with coworkers and clients:
“Batching my work to be more effective. I work most effectively in chunks, so I’m going to be doing my personal work in the morning, checking emails by 11:30 am, and will get back with you as soon as I am able to after lunch.”
Healthy Professional Boundaries for Supervisors: Quick Tips
- Consider: What is MY side of the street and what is YOUR side of the street?
- Don’t take everyone else’s jobs on. You hired them to do theirs. Either they will or they won’t. But, if you spend your time doing their job, you are no longer doing YOUR job.
- Is it a no-go? Say “no” as soon as possible. This will allow for less ambiguity.
- Mulling around or avoiding the actual “no” does not manage expectations properly and will lead to confusion and resentment later.
- Managing flow and time in supervision meetings:
- Do you have anything for me or need anything from me?
- When someone says: “You’re so intimidating!” …
- ”Why are you feeling intimidated around me?”
- When someone is being defensive or dramatic and you have a job to do:
- “Your defensiveness is really unprofessional. I don’t care why you did it the way I don’t want you to, I just want you to do it the way I want you to. This is your job.”
When managing healthy professional boundaries, remember: “Clear is Kind”
Overall, the message is “clear is kind”. You are being a kind, professional person when you manage professional boundaries effectively. When you really get masterful, you can have these conversations with ease and grace. Then, you are hopefully more able to focus on work while you’re at work. This will also lead to healthier nights, more productive afternoons, and more enjoyable mornings. Work-life “balance” may be your goal, or you just may be looking for work-life harmony with less drama and stress.
Begin Counseling for Women in Miramar, FL or Start Online Therapy in Florida
My hope is that you have found this post helpful to get you thinking about professional boundaries. However, you may need more support navigating these and other professional situations. If you are looking for a therapist who specializes in helping women like you set clear boundaries, look no further. Enid is here to support your mental health journey in all of its forms. To begin therapy for women in Broward County in-person or for online therapy in Florida, follow these three steps:
Contact Counseling Solutions of Boward to schedule your free 20-minute consultation on a video platform,
Meet with Enid and get to know her!
Live life with more balance and healthy boundaries!
Other Therapy Services Offered at Counseling Solutions of Broward
In addition to providing codependency treatment for women in Florida, Enid De Jesus offers a variety of mental health services at her counseling clinic in Broward County, FL. Her goal is to create lasting transformative change and growth in your life. So, she offers anxiety treatment, depression treatment, counseling for imposter syndrome, after divorce counseling, and relationship counseling for one. For more information on counseling, please check out the what to expect page or contact our South Florida counseling office.