Managing Your Boundaries

Ensuring That Others Respect Your Needs

How clear are your boundaries?

© iStockphoto

Good fences make good neighbors. – Old proverb

Fences allow you to protect what's valuable to you. They also allow you to control who and what enters your space.

In the workplace, setting boundaries helps establish a productive work environment. You – and the people you work with – have different values, needs, and beliefs about what's right. These differences can lead to conflict, resentment, anger, anxiety, and stress.

Does your co-worker like last-minute deadlines and working under pressure, but you like to plan ahead and have everything finished early? You can do things your co-worker's way (and end up stressed) – or you can recognize what you need to be effective, and then ask for it. Do you have a colleague who yells and screams when she's under stress? Does this behavior upset you? Then you owe it to yourself to say something to her, so that she understands the negative impact she's having on other people.

This is called managing your boundaries. It's an assertive and responsible way to make sure others respect your needs, while you respect theirs.

By taking the time to understand and map your boundaries, you will.

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