Setting boundaries is a real challenge if you want to build strong relationships with colleagues, especially if you are a manager.
Tuning in to their needs is important. Not only do you want to understand the work they are doing but you also want to help them grow and develop personally and professionally.
The challenge is how to do this without getting sucked into to every problem they have in their lives. While it’s important to listen to their personal stories and their professional challenges you also need to step back and allow them to work things out.
Here’s how to set boundaries that may be useful when helping a colleague
- Notice and name (to yourself) how you are affected emotionally by what the other person is saying.
- Let them know that you hear their frustration, worry, fears, or anything else that you think they might be feeling.
- Acknowledge to them that these things are not so easy to work out
- Gently tell them that you have faith in them that they will come to a solution.
- Stand back and allow them to take time, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. (Unless the mistake will be dangerous or costly, in which case take appropriate action yourself.)