Boundaries At Work

clarity Aug 19, 2019

We spend a lot of time at work, so creating boundaries in the workplace and around our work is extremely critical to our health and wellbeing. Our boundaries at work guide how you form relationships with managers, co-workers, and employees. Healthy boundaries can make the difference between being happy or burnt out. Professional boundaries are important because they define your responsibilities and your rights in the workplace.  

Without boundaries, the ability to create meaningful work diminishes, few people can focus on creating great work, and productivity becomes non-existent. So, I will share with you a few tips on how to create better boundaries at work. 

Meet With Your Supervisor 

Do not rely on your job description to define your boundaries. Most job descriptions talk about roles and tasks, and it does not mention anything about the relationships between team members, supervisors, or clients. Clarify mutual boundaries early and often with your supervisor. Meet with your supervisor as often as needed to understand his or her expectations of you and define mutual boundaries based on these expectations. 


Set Clear Expectation With Your Team 

We all want to be liked, but leadership requires more than that. Your employees are only as good as the system and the culture that you create. I always want to create a healthy culture that fosters conflicts, but I have boundaries, and the number one boundary for me is being friendly but not friends with my team.

Let me share some of the most important boundaries that I know. 


  1. Be friendly, but do not become friends with your employees. Friendships between managers and employees create a lot of confusion, creating ‘conflict of interest’ issues. 
  2. Keep socialization to work hours. If you want to grab lunch with your employees, do it during your work schedule.  Avoid events during nonworking hours. 
  3. Avoid engaging in "hot topic" discussions with your team. 
  4. Create a ‘no negativity’ work environment. 
  5. Create a gossip-free workplace.
  6. Lead by example: If you do not want people to email you after hours, do not email them after hours. 
  7. Respect your boundaries: if you want people to be at work at eight, you better be there at 7:45. 


Set Clear Expectation With Your Clients 

Clear communication is key to setting a successful relationship with your clients. Clarity removes any misunderstanding and helps avoid future problems. 

  1. Ask your clients to define success. 
  2. Provide your clients with expected deliverables before you start working on any project. 
  3. Give them a roadmap with defined milestones, one-month, three-month, and six-month goals. 
  4. Have a contract and define success, scope, deliverables, milestones, critical tasks, and status updates schedule. 
  5. Discuss the most efficient communication method for everyone: in-person meetings, conference calls, emails, or texts. 

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