https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APQhhhn70NUWork can be very stressful, even if you love what you do. Sometimes you and your boss may not see eye to eye and in turn feel that both of you don’t align. This can create a stressful work environment where boundaries can be broken. We’ve all experienced this at one point in our lives and can now address this in two achievable steps.
Step one: Being aware of what’s going on at work (broken boundaries)
Here, we disclose how important it is to be aware of what toxic boundaries with your boss can look like. When you are able to pinpoint the aspects of work you feel aren’t the healthiest environment to be in, then you are able to take the correct actions towards them.
1. There are no clear working hours
It’s safe to say that most of those who have a job have surpassed the limit of working hours that should’ve been abided by. Not respecting work hours by emailing, calling, texting, and expecting a response anytime, any day, automatically breaks boundaries and creates a stressful environment.
2. Work affects your personal life
Sometimes, you might feel that you can’t differentiate between work and your personal life. You feel that that there isn’t a clear line where your job ends and your personal life begins. This makes it hard to put boundaries and may create problems at work and at home, leaving you stressed and anxious.
3. Not wanting to go to work anymore
If you’ve reached the point where you wake up in the morning, feeling that you don’t want to go to work anymore then know that something wrong is going on. You are aware there is something that’s not aligning with your goals and needs and hence need to address that.
4. Always feeling stressed at work
Stress is a normal feeling. We can feel stressed whenever we perceive a situation is too much for us to take. Yet, where do we draw the line? If stress turns into burnout or is persistent and consistent, then it’s not normal.
5. Micromanaging every task, you’re working on
You might feel that your boss keeps micromanaging you where they comment, lead, take over every task you’re working on. This leaves no autonomy to do your own work by showing how creative, independent, and smart you are.
6. Giving unrealistic expectations for your role
A very important boundary that can be broken at work is assigning impossible expectations for your role or a project you’re working on. Remember that clear job descriptions are important to know from the very start, because the moment you surpass them by being handed more than agreed on, is the moment a boundary begins to be broken.
Step two: Taking action (creating boundaries)
After discussing examples where boundaries can be broken at work, you now have the awareness to know when they’re happening, feel something isn’t aligning with your standards, and now can begin to take appropriate actions. How can you work on creating boundaries with your overbearing boss?
Communication is key
It’s important to acknowledge with your boss when your boundaries have been violated, particularly if it’s a pattern. Constructively communicate why you think so and what can be done instead. When you establish open communication, you have mutual trust between you and your boss and in turn will leave you feeling more comfortable having these discussions later on. Remember that communication is a skill that needs practice to be able to make healthy conversation out of it. Here are examples on how you can openly communicate with your boss with boundaries are being broken at work:
1. Use “I” sentences instead of “you” sentences
“I feel that I am pressured, I feel that work is too much on me, I feel that I need help in this aspect.” Instead of saying “I feel that you are unfair, you put a lot on my plate, you can’t seem to fairly distribute tasks”
2. Discuss flexibility
When tasks seem to much for you to do and you’ve already touched the over working hours period, communicate how you can distribute tasks equally throughout the week so that everything gets done in time, efficiently, where both you and your boss are satisfied. Discuss how flexible you are with the capacity you can endure throughout the week with the tasks assigned.
3. Learn how to say “No”
Learning how and when to say no is a skill that’s important for life not just for work. You don’t have to be confrontational and angry when saying no, instead you can say: “I’m sorry but I cannot do this, I don’t feel comfortable saying that, I feel that this would be too much on me”. This helps create healthy boundaries, reduces your feeling of stress and overwhelm, and it’s a way to communicate with your boss effectively.
A Word from O7therapy
If you feel that you can’t adjust, communicate, or work with your boss in the work environment even after trying to create boundaries, find someone you trust to talk to. You can seek professional help if you feel that this has been a long, stressful issue affecting your work and personal life balance.