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Episode 16: Talk To Your Boss About Boundaries

communication overwhelm podcast relationships Apr 11, 2022

"I work for a boss who does not have good boundaries around work and time. He expects me to continually live in crisis mode...responding to his urgent requests. How do I set and keep boundaries in my workplace so I don't sacrifice my family or my own health?"

Our last episode Eric Bailey and Annie Perdue-Olson discuss the first part of the answer to this question. How do you know what your boundaries are for YOU? Setting purposeful boundaries is the starting point to dive into the second part of the question in this episode. Once you know your boundaries, how do you have the conversation you need to have with your manager?

How do you manage the differing perceptions in the situation?

  • Perception guides our behavior NOT reality. Perception is not reality!
  • What you say or do matters less than what they hear or what they feel.
  • Shifts the onus of communication to the communicator – “if I need you to hear me right I need to communicate differently.”

How can you double check your perceptions?

  • Most boundaries are perceived expectations – check in to see if they are true
  • Clarify what they expect and co-design good boundaries with them.
  • As a boss, check on what implied rules you might be communicating.
  • Making demands creates defensiveness; curious questions disarms them

How do you manage the emotion amidst the conversation?

  • Recognize your physiological symptoms that serve as clues.
  • Breathe, ask yourself a difficult question to re-engage your executive thinking function.
  • Tell them the conversation is difficult for you to encourage empathy.
  • Assume they have your best interest in mind – the “how” might be different.
  • Watch for their physiological signs and pause, check in and make them feel safe again.

The most amazing feeling is when we feel completely and totally understood by another person. Why don’t we spend more time trying to give that experience to others? It doesn’t mean you have to agree. It’s this space where you acknowledge you HEARD them. It releases all kinds of oxytocin in our brain that can shift the conversation. 

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