Setting healthy boundaries at work is crucial for work-life balance and even advancement.
Have you ever repressed your own needs or desires in order to please someone else at work? Maybe you find yourself saying yes to things when you’d rather say no. Maybe you have feelings of guilt arise when it comes to voicing what you really want or think. If this is you, it might be time to recalibrate your boundaries.
Boundaries are the personal limits we set for ourselves that help us align with our own personal values, needs and desires. When we fail to set boundaries, we fall out of alignment with our authentic selves. This leaves us feeling stressed and emotionally drained. We’re unable to put any energy towards caring for our own needs.
A sign of a strong leader is someone who knows their own limits and has no issue setting healthy boundaries at work. When we fail to do so, we strain our relationships both in and out of the office. Ultimately, we cause ourselves more stress in the long run.
Types of Healthy Boundaries at Work
Setting healthy boundaries at work can be difficult, but it’s critical in order to protect your energy, stay on top of what matters most to you, and sustain healthy relationships at work and in life. The first step in honoring your own boundaries is to define your personal limits. Here are some different types of boundaries:
- Physical boundaries: boundaries around our physical limits and personal space needs
- Emotional boundaries: boundaries around how you feel, who you engage with, and what parts of yourself you share
- Resource boundaries: boundaries around your time and energy
- Material boundaries: boundaries around your things, how they’re used, and how they’re treated
You can think of boundaries as the guidelines for your life. Our inner sense of wisdom and intuition will often reveal to us where we need to place boundaries in our lives. If you aren’t used to tuning into your intuition, it’s important to start bringing awareness to how you’re feeling in the present moment. Many of us live on autopilot, moving through life in a state of reactivity. This makes it difficult to be aware of how we’re really feeling, and what our true needs are.
Practice Saying No
The act of setting and honoring your own boundaries doesn’t always come naturally. For many, feelings of fear, guilt and the desire to people-please bubble to the surface when they enforce their boundaries with others. That’s okay—it’s a skill to be cultivated. The more you practice saying no, the easier it will start to become. As people start to recognize the way you refuse to waver on your personal limits, they’ll see you as a stronger leader and develop more respect for you. Here are some examples of what setting boundaries looks like in practice:
- “I am not looking for feedback or advice right now.”
- “I’m not comfortable sharing that.”
- “I respect that we have different opinions on this and don’t wish to continue the conversation.”
These are just a few examples of what setting boundaries looks like in practice. It’s important to understand that you don’t need to apologize for acknowledging and holding your boundaries, even if it’s with people you are very close to. While it may feel difficult at first, you’ll see with time how much freedom and relief can be experienced as a result of truly honoring yourself, valuing your own time and energy, and being able to focus on what makes you happy.
Join a Community of Leaders and Learn How to Set Healthy Boundaries at Work
Looking for advice and support on setting better boundaries at work?
Join one of our free Givitas communities for leaders and ask your peers how they do it.
About the Author
Sophie writes on behalf of CreditRepair about finance and productivity. Specifically, she is interested in removing the barriers of complicated financial topics and teaching financial literacy in a way that is accessible to all.