Maintaining Boundaries While Being A Supportive Coworker

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Do you ever feel like it’s a challenge to stay professional and objective while being supportive of your colleagues? We all know how crucial it is to set boundaries in the workplace, especially when working with others who may be going through tough times or dealing with personal issues.

But when we care deeply about our work and our teammates, building strong relationships can make all the difference in creating an enjoyable, productive team environment. This blog focuses on accomplishing this by discussing tips for respecting those boundaries and supporting everyone’s needs.

Check out this blog by celebrity motivational speaker Steve Gilliland about how to effectively resolve conflict at your workplace and effortlessly work through the day-to-day operations with your coworkers.

Types of Boundaries to Set with Your Coworkers

1. Personal Space

Everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to personal space, and it’s important to respect the personal space of your coworkers. This way, you can show them the kind of respect you expect. If someone is invading your personal space or standing too close, you can politely ask them to back up or move away.

2. Time

Another type of boundary that you can work on is your time. Just as your coworkers have a life outside work, you do, too. It’s essential to ensure that your coworkers respect your time and don’t expect you to be there for them 24/7. If someone needs to contact you after your shift is over, let them know they can reach out to you through email and that you’ll respond when it’s feasible for you.

3. Privacy

Everyone has a right to privacy, and it’s important that you respect the privacy of your coworkers. This includes not asking personal questions or snooping through their belongings. If you have a question, ask the person directly if they are comfortable sharing that information with you. Portraying this behavior will ensure that your coworkers also respect your privacy.

Happy employees at the workplace

Ways You Can Set Boundaries at Work

Assess Your Personal Boundaries First

Setting boundaries with a coworker can be tricky, especially if you aren’t sure what yours are. It’s important to assess your boundaries first to know what is comfortable and acceptable to you regarding communication, confidentiality, and interactions.

That way, you’re clear on how you want to be treated going forward, and it prevents miscommunications or misunderstandings. After assessing your boundaries and communicating them to your coworker, you will better understand expectations for the working relationship. Taking the time to communicate expectations is essential for fostering a healthy environment in the workplace.

Communicate Head-On

Letting your coworkers know what’s acceptable behavior toward you and what’s not makes things easier for everyone. Doing this upfront and clearly can help avoid future unhappy surprises or disputes. It also helps create a safe and comfortable working environment for everyone involved, which improves respect and encourages collaboration.

Plus, laying out the expectations from day one ensures that all parties are on the same page ―so that everyone knows their role and performs better as part of a team. In short, having clear communication with your coworkers about boundaries sets you up for success in any working relationship.

Two employees having a discussion

Create Clear, Structured Boundaries

Creating clear boundaries with a coworker isn’t just about setting limits for yourself; it’s also about setting limits for them. You take the guesswork out of the boundaries and draw a clear line so you can maintain a respectful relationship at your workplace. By outlining rules or expectations from the start and sticking to them, you’re providing order and direction for how to move forward in the relationship.

This involves being clear about your intentions, protecting yourself from undue stress, and ensuring that both parties have shared expectations. Setting up a clear structure will help you set healthy boundaries with coworkers and make it easier to enforce those boundaries when needed.

Maintain Healthy Professional Relationships

Letting emotions cloud our judgment regarding our relationships with coworkers can be easy. However, to maintain a safe and healthy working environment for everyone, keep your professional relationships with coworkers clear and distinct.

Boundaries are crucial to ensure everyone at work feels respected and that deadlines are being met, productivity remains high, and communication is respectful. Having clear boundaries outlined from the beginning enables coworkers to have a more successful working relationship in the long run. So, if you struggle to set proper boundaries with a coworker, take some time to consider why these are important―not just for maintaining a peaceful workplace, but ultimately for ensuring everyone’s success.

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Set Clear Expectations About Your Workload

Setting expectations from the outset is essential to establishing boundaries and nurturing effective relationships while working. This means being detailed, clear, and concise when discussing what you are and aren’t willing to do in a professional environment.

While good communication can often be sensitive to different opinions, clearly communicating your job duties—beyond the roles assigned to you by your employer—can help define success in both short-term projects and long-term goals.

Business motivational speakers suggest that these goals will help everyone understand what they’re contributing toward and what they’re accountable for.

Additionally, it can help bring together a shared vision between coworkers who may have differing thoughts on tackling small tasks—ensuring that everyone holds up their end of the bargain without any misunderstandings or mixed expectations.

Recognize Your Emotions

Another one of the most important aspects of setting better boundaries at work is understanding and recognizing your own emotions. It can be beneficial to take a moment to acknowledge how you are feeling in certain situations rather than simply letting yourself get swept away by them.

Taking the time to reflect on your feelings can allow you to identify the triggers that may impact your behavior, which will help you become more aware and adjust accordingly. Understanding one’s feelings is an effective way to not only set better personal boundaries at work but also foster healthier relationships on both a professional and personal level.

It’s Okay to Say No

Setting boundaries at work is of utmost importance if you plan to stay focused, maintain your sanity, and perform effectively. Finding the balance between the need to please everyone and standing your ground can sometimes seem overwhelming.

One tip for achieving this tricky juggling act is learning when to say no without compromising the relationships with your coworkers. This means taking the time to evaluate each situation before responding. Motivational speakers suggest that a few questions you can ask yourself are:

  • Is it something that needs to be done immediately?
  • Could it wait until tomorrow?
  • Do you have other, more urgent priorities?

Remember to speak firmly but politely, always leaving room for compromise so everybody feels heard and respected. At the end of the day, setting healthy boundaries enables us to create productive workplaces where everyone benefits!

Employees at a corporate conference

Take Time Off

Setting boundaries by taking time off is a great way to prioritize your well-being and productivity. Instead of allowing vacation time to just keep accruing, use your paid time off when it’s available, when you need it, or even when you get it.

That might mean taking an extra day during the working week or pushing pause for a full-on vacation; just don’t let those hard-earned days go to waste—that’s not cooking the books, that’s self-care. Taking a break can help you come back energized and focused so you’ll be more productive; this teaches respect for yourself and your job’s well-being.

How to Prepare Yourself for Confrontations When a Coworker Has Violated Your Boundaries at Work

Confronting a coworker is never easy, especially when boundary violations occur. To make sure the conversation goes smoothly, it’s best to go into it prepared.

First, think about what the issue truly is and why you view it as a boundary violation. Writing these thoughts down in advance can help collect and organize your ideas so you’re not scrambling for them during the confrontation.

Additionally, practice summarizing the problem without assigning blame or making assumptions; this will create an environment where constructive dialogue can occur. Bring a few potential solutions to the table with constructive language to keep the focus on progressing forward. Preparation is significant in any difficult workplace situation, especially boundary violation.

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Book Steve for Your Next Corporate Convention

Steve Gilliland is one of the most in-demand motivational speakers in the business world. He has an engaging and interactive style that touches the heart of his audience and compels them to bring a positive change in themselves and their surroundings.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Steve’s work, we highly recommend his one-of-a-kind motivational videos, Motivation Bites. These videos are the most helpful tool for anyone unable to attend his keynote speeches in person.

And while these videos are powerful, his live keynote address, presented at your workplace, offers your team the opportunity to experience this Hall of Fame Speaker’s energy, humor and relevant messaging firsthand. Book Steve today and see how a corporate motivational speaker can bring a spark to your organization.

Your message was very powerful and kept the audience on the edge of their seats, which was evident in the standing ovation you received.”  – Americare