The Role of Boundaries in Business

"Toxic people project their own character defects onto their victims. They do this by accusing the victim of the exact actions they themselves do but deny."

Shannon Thomas

"When a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control

how others see you. The misinformation will feel unfair, but stay above it,

trusting that other people will eventually see the truth..."

Jill Blakeway

Whether navigating office politics, finding trustworthy business partners, or cleaning up personal relationships, I have found that the skill of recognizing toxic people and relationships is a critical skill not often mentioned in business books.

Toxic relationships naturally develop when boundaries are not set and values are not respected. Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. - a editor - says that:

"It’s common for people with toxic behavior to: create drama in their lives or be surrounded by it; try to manipulate or control others; be needy (“it is all about them all the time”); use others to meet their needs (such as “narcissistic parents”); be extremely critical of themselves and others; be jealous and envious of others, bemoaning their bad fortune and others’ good fortune; abuse substances or harm themselves in other ways, and be unwilling (or unable) to seek help from loved ones, a therapist or a recovery program."

Most people know of at least one toxic person in their personal lives, but sometimes we do not recognize it as readily in the workplace (especially a remote workplace). There are unique challenges to a workplace relationship because we cannot simply walk away and never see that co-worker again - we have to continue to work with them.

That is where boundaries come in. For someone who has never set boundaries before, it can seem like an unforgiving way to hurt people around you. With practice, however, we eventually realize that boundaries actually help people around us (and keep us sane at the same time!) gives good tips for setting boundaries at work in this article >>

  • Know Your Values

  • Communicate Clearly

  • Immediately Bring Up a Violation

  • Create Structure

  • Focus on Concrete Explanations

  • Prepare for Violations

[Make sure to read the entire article - it's excellent!]

Boundaries are key to healthy and satisfying relationships. For too long, I had no clue that saying no could actually help people around me and how I felt about myself. There is a time and a place to go all out to help someone in a tough time, but continually helping someone out of a bind or bending over backwards for everyday tasks will burn you out and do more harm than good.

From the first day you get a job, identify boundaries that need to be set in order to have the best possible working relationship.

- Communicating with your boss that you are willing to take on a new project in exchange for another project shows that you are aware of your workload and know how to balance your projects.

- Not working overtime regularly and turning off your work phone shows that you have respect for your time (and will respect their time in the future).

- Declining an invitation to a work party to attend your son's basketball game shows that you have respect for the people around you and know how to prioritize.

- Refusing to engage in office politics shows the value you place on self-respect and playing fairly.

Each of these may seem like a recipe to losing your job, but in actuality, your co-workers and employers will respect you more as you respect yourself. If they do not, then it's probably not the work environment you've dreamed about.

What are the biggest challenges in your office? What boundaries should be set to improve your relationship with your co-workers? Who in your workplace has set good boundaries that you can exemplify?

Destiny Yarbro

19 Aug 2016

Prescott, Arizona

Check out another post:

3 Types of People You Need in Your Dream Support System [and why you shouldn't tell everyone your ideas] >>

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