Personal Boundaries at Work – Breaking and Protecting

21 Oct, 2020
Personal Boundaries at Work – Breaking and Protecting

Today there will be a “pillow talk” about personal boundaries at work. One way or another, almost every employee is faced with a violation of their boundaries and, perhaps without even noticing it, violates someone else. So, what are personal boundaries, how to understand that they are being overstepped and which ones are best avoided so as not to violate the personal boundaries of others!

This topic is not new, but promises to be useful for those who experienced discomfort at work and the obsessive feeling “I would not want to talk about this at all, but I had to.”

What are Personal Boundaries

This concept has recently begun to be discussed in society, most of our citizens have a vague idea of ​​personal boundaries. If we define in simple terms what personal boundaries are, then this is a fine line of what we allow and do not allow other people to do in relation to ourselves.

What Counts as Breaking Personal

Boundaries at Work

What counts as breaking personal boundaries at work

Distortion of your name can also be considered a violation of your boundaries! You come to a business meeting and someone calls you “Natasha”, or “Danya”. You introduced yourself as “Natalia” or “Danylo”. You politely ask to call you the way you introduced yourself, and in response you hear “Isn’t this the same name? Just abbreviated. What’s the difference?” This is where the crossing of your borders begins when other people think that you are strange, but for some reason, foreign employees or partners call your name you exactly as you introduced yourself … These are cultural features. This is just one of the possible options, therefore we suggest considering phrases-bells that indicate that someone is already at your borders:

  • Oh! I haven’t seen you for two weeks, you’ve lost so much weight!
  • How are you doing with your husband?
  • You have some bruises under your eyes, are you sick?
  • How much are your boots worth?
  • New phone? And who presented it?
  • Why do you need sick leave?
  • Why do you need such a long vacation?

For some reason, most people in our country think that since people ended up in the same office at the same time, they should definitely be “bro” now. In the West, it is not customary to mix work and friendship, with rare exceptions. When such questions arise, such as “Why do you need a sick leave?”, then in the West the answer will be something like “Sorry, these are my personal matters, I would not want to discuss my state of health. The only thing I can say for sure is that I need sick leave”. And this will not raise any additional questions and they will not be repeated in the future. For some reason, it is customary for us to accept the position of the dispute in the style of “Listen, well, I’m not just asking you, I’m your manager, I need to know the reason. What if you are cheating me and just want to rest for a few days?”. In fact, no one needs to know the reason for your sick leave, unless you feel it necessary to inform it yourself.

How to Know if You are Overstepping

Another Person’s Boundaries

How to Know if You are Overstepping Another Person's Boundaries

Firstly, pay attention to the reaction, facial expressions and gestures of your interlocutor, if the reaction after the question about a family weekend trip is ambiguous, then it is better to move the topic in a different direction.

If you notice how the interlocutor was embarrassed, made an unexpected pause, got confused, or dramatically changed in his or her face, then you should know that you have crossed the personal boundaries of your colleague.

Imagine that you have a business dinner at a restaurant, you ordered veal and red wine, and your colleague is next to veal and white wine. You, as a kind person, want to help, of course! And you say: “Veal is a good choice, but it is customary to order red wine with it.” There are 10 more of your colleagues at the table and almost everyone has heard it. Of course, everyone was culturally silent, at most someone joked. Congratulations, you have violated the personal boundaries of your colleague who wanted white wine with veal. The takeaway is simple – don’t give “advice” when it isn’t asked for.

How to Assert Personal Boundaries at Work

Of course, this should be done politely, but persistently! It is unbelievable but true – often in the West, third parties, that is, HR, are involved in solving such problems. It is better to defend your personal boundaries according to the scheme:

  1. Express the fact of violation of personal boundaries at work
  2. … describe the sensations
  3. … please terminate
  4. … suggest an alternative (solution)

Example: Juliana really doesn’t like when John calls her July

  1. John, when you call me July
  2. … I feel confused
  3. … could you stop calling me July
  4. … in my opinion, this is a little familiar, so call me Juliana.

If it doesn’t work the first time, repeat it several times, almost like a mantra.

What Happens if You Violate Other People’s Personal Boundaries at Work

What Happens if You Violate Other People's Personal Boundaries at Work

In addition to deteriorating relationships with colleagues, you will also have a conversation with HR. The main goal of this article is to respect personal boundaries at work, both for your own and for others. We at Israel IT pay attention to all the details and personal boundaries as well. This is the only way to create a healthy, effective and happy team. To become part of our family – go to vacancies in Israel IT, send your CVs and join us very soon!

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