Practical Strategies For Setting Boundaries At Work

Key Boundary-Setting Training for Professionals


Boost Confidence

Feel confident by clearly and safely expressing work boundaries, enhancing work-life balance and reducing stress.

Achieve Harmony

Strengthen your relationships by empathetically and assertively communicating your boundaries.

Professional Growth

Refine your professional development by honing assertive communication and emotional intelligence skills.

Refine your communication skills by learning to harness your emotional intelligence with one of the UK's most acclaimed management training courses.

Why Choose This Training?

More Than Just A Course Of Lectures

What gets in the way of developing and holding on to new communication skills are old habits of thinking and speaking. Even if the advice is very good the reason why it rarely sticks are the mental habits people inevitably revert to, especially under pressure.

Unlearning those old habits and internalising a more effective and lasting approach to communication needs more than a short course of lectures on how to do it.

What Makes This Training Stand Out?

What makes this training stand out is the exceptional support through one-to-one coaching sessions and continuous feedback. Changing behaviour is not an easy task as old habits are hard to break.

With a 40-year track record we can help you cultivate practical skills, and build your confidence to so you can successfully navigate real-world challenges, ensuring lasting behavioural improvements.


Join thousands of participants getting results

"What I love about this course is that I didn't just learn about the topic, this course is about ME.  I'm confident I can reliably use my new skills, even when under pressure".

5 stars

A Project Manager At A Tech Company

"A lesson for life! The power of effective communication is incredible when one masters the skills "listening with empathy" and "speaking assertively"

5 stars

A Project Quality Engineer

Clients We Have Worked With

Well-known companies who have used this course again and again, over many years

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  • NHS 2
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Course Summary

Training Objectives

Setting boundaries at work is hard. Many people struggle with this. This training course will show you practical ways to set healthy work boundaries.

  • Speak up early and clearly about your limits to keep a good work - life balance. Use "I feel” … statements to make it about your needs.
  • Show empathy when dealing with others at work and understand their positions too. This builds stronger relationships.
  • Learn to say no respectfully but firmly when you need to protect your time and energy.
  • Take breaks and use technology like auto - replies or apps that mute notifications to help maintain boundaries during personal time.
  • If someone keeps breaking your boundaries, talk to them again with clear words or ask for help from a manager or HR.

Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

You will learn a set of powerful emotional intelligence communication techniques so that you can manage difficult conversations, handle challenging situations, build relationships and set firm boundaries.

Transferable Skills

The goal of this training is to equip you with the tools you need to build strong, lasting relationships in your professional life, although because these skills are so transferable many clients report vast improvements in their personal relationships as well.

Develop Skills

This is a skills development rather than just a theoretical programme, so the emphasis throughout will be on you taking turn after turn, practising your skills, while receiving feedback and coaching about your effect on others.

Repeated Practice and Feedback

In your coaching sessions you will be helped to practise dealing with the kinds of situation you find challenging, again and again, until you are confident you can do it successfully.

Video Analysis

We'll combine practical, hands-on experience with video replay and analysis and discussion of the principles involved to help you gain both skills and understanding. Special attention is paid to your individual training needs, so you can practise your skills in real-life situations that you have to handle at work.

Sustained Change

That's why as well as your place in a small group, this training includes a generous amount of private and confidential one-to-one coaching sessions online, spread over several months, ensuring an exceptional level of support. This will ensure the changes you make are sustained over a longer period of time and any obstacles are overcome. Choose between online training available worldwide, or in-person face-to-face courses in the UK.

Course Dates and Price

For a list of upcoming course dates (for online coaching and face-to-face training), the locations of the next 3-day public courses in the UK and pricing Click here.

Free Initial Session

This initial coaching session serves as an introduction to the "Skills with People" course, allowing you to understand the course's relevance and effectiveness for your specific needs before committing to it.

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People who feel understood are more receptive

Understanding Boundaries at Work

At work, boundaries help us manage how we interact and share space with others. They are about knowing where your own limits lie and making sure everyone respects them.

Types of Boundaries (Mental, Physical, Emotional)

Setting boundaries at work helps you maintain a healthy work-life balance. It guides how you interact, making sure your mental health and personal life stay protected. Let's take a closer look at the types of boundaries.

  1. Mental Boundaries keep your thoughts, values, and opinions safe. They let you have your own ideas without taking on too much stress from others. Say you prefer deep work sessions without interruptions; setting specific times for these can safeguard your focus and creativity.
  2. Physical Boundaries relate to your personal space and physical comfort at work. This includes how close someone stands to you or if they think it's okay to use your desk while you're away. Clearly communicating things like preferring not to share certain items or needing a heads-up before someone enters your office can prevent discomfort.
  3. Emotional Boundaries protect your feelings and energy in the workplace. They help you manage emotional input and output effectively, ensuring that work drama doesn't damage your well-being. An example could be deciding not to discuss personal matters during meetings or keeping feedback about work performance factual rather than personal.

Each boundary type plays a critical role in fostering respect among colleagues and ensuring everyone feels comfortable and valued in their job roles. Establishing these boundaries with clear communication practices encourages a supportive environment, where both productivity and personal well-being are prioritised.

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People can't help arguing when they feel misunderstood

Protecting Your Boundaries

Keeping your boundaries safe at work makes you happier and helps you do better. Read on to find out how!

Benefits of Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries at work can lead to a healthy work-life balance. It helps you manage your time better, keeping work hours strictly for job tasks and personal time for rest or fun activities.

This way, you won't feel worn out from working too much overtime.

Having clear boundaries also means less stress because you have set limits on what you can do in a day. You'll find yourself saying no to extra tasks that don't fit into your schedule or job description more easily.

Plus, it encourages respect between you and your colleagues as they understand and appreciate your personal limits and professional boundaries.

Importance of Communication

Talking well at work helps everyone understand each other. It makes sure everybody knows what they're supposed to do. Good talk means sharing ideas, setting clear expectations, and responding well to teammates.

You need to make your points without making others feel uncomfortable or upset.

Using simple words can go a long way. Be honest but kind when you share what you think and feel at work. This builds trust and respect in your team. It's all about saying what you need politely and listening carefully to others too.

This way, working together becomes easier for everyone.

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He's now far more aware of his impact on others

Setting Boundaries With Colleagues Without Jeopardising Your Reputation

To keep your work life happy and respectful, learn how to set smart boundaries with colleagues without harming your good name.

Communicate assertively upfront

Speak up clearly from the start. Tell people what you need, how you like to work, and when you're available. This helps keep a healthy work-life balance. Be firm but polite.

Use "I feel …” statements to keep it about your needs. For example, say, “I’m keen to help, but I need time to focus on work I’ve already committed to so that I don’t let other people down“ instead of buckling to pressure and staying late.

Keeping things clear with colleagues stops problems before they start. It's part of setting boundaries at work. Next up, we talk about keeping relationships professional..

Keep relationships professional

Keeping relationships professional at work is key. Talk about work tasks, and avoid too much personal chat. This helps keep your focus on job goals, not personal lives. It's okay to be friendly, but remember the line between friendliness and friendship.

This way, you maintain a healthy work-life balance and ensure everyone feels comfortable.

Delegate work when necessary

Maintaining professional relationships sets the stage for smart workload management. It's okay to share tasks with others. Sometimes, your to-do list gets too long. Asking teammates for help can ease this.

This approach keeps you focused and stops burnout. Plus, it shows trust in your team's skills.

Delegating isn't just giving away tasks; it’s strategic. Choose who does what wisely, based on their strengths. This ensures work is done well and on time. It also lets you focus on important duties only you can handle, supporting a healthy work-life balance.

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She now feels more confident in tackling people

Setting Boundaries with Your Boss

Talking to your boss about boundaries can be tricky. You want to show respect while making sure your needs are heard.

Communicate with Emotional Intelligence

Talking to your boss with emotional intelligence means understanding both feelings and work needs. It's like playing a smart game of chess with words. You show you get what they need from you, but also gently explain your own limits.

Think of it as balancing on a tightrope where one side is your boss's goals and the other side is your well-being.

To do this right, listen well and pick up hints about what matters most to them. Then, be clear but kind in expressing how you can meet those needs without crossing your boundaries.

It’s all about finding that sweet spot where both sides win – their objectives are met, and you keep a healthy work-life balance.

Empathise With Your Boss’s Needs

Understanding your boss's needs is a key step right after using emotional intelligence in conversations. Your boss has goals and pressures just like you do. They need to meet targets, deal with their own bosses, and ensure the team works well.

By empathising with these challenges, you create a stronger work relationship. This doesn't mean saying yes to everything. It means understanding their position and finding ways to support each other's needs.

Empathy also helps in setting healthy boundaries at work. If your boss knows you understand their pressures, they're more likely to respect your boundaries too. Talk about what you can do realistically within working hours or when taking sick days for self-care without harming the team’s progress or missing deadlines.

Assertively Spell Out Your Own needs

After understanding how to empathise with your boss's needs, it's crucial to be clear about what you need too. Speak up for yourself. Tell them directly what work hours you can manage, and the tasks you can handle without feeling overloaded.

This helps set clear expectations between you and your boss.

Use simple words. Say "I worry about having the time to finish my existing projects first“ or "I can't work late evenings because I’ll feel guilty about family commitments." By doing this, everyone knows what to expect. This way, setting boundaries becomes easier and more effective for maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

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Are you helping them think for themselves?

Tips for Establishing and Maintaining Healthy Boundaries Using Emotional Intelligence

Using your emotional intelligence to set boundaries helps you understand and respect your needs and others'. It's all about finding a balance, speaking up for yourself while being kind.

Assess personal boundaries using assertiveness

Use words clearly and stand firm to mark your own boundaries. Tell others about your limits in a way that is both strong and respectful. Show you understand their needs but also make it clear what you need to stay happy and do well at work.

Doing this helps keep a healthy work life balance.

Talk directly with people when setting boundaries at work. This means being upfront about what tasks you can take on and how much time you're willing to spend after hours working. It's okay to turn down extra work if it means protecting your mental and emotional energy.

This approach makes sure everyone knows where the line is, avoiding misunderstandings or feelings of being overwhelmed.

Communicate Your Understanding of others’ need with lots of empathy

After you've looked at your own needs through assertiveness, it's time to think about others. Showing you get what someone else feels or needs means a lot. It helps in building trust and respect at work.

Listen closely to what colleagues say and put yourself in their shoes. This way, you’ll show empathy and understand their boundaries too.

Talking with empathy doesn’t mean just saying yes to everything. It’s about balancing your needs with those of others around you. For example, if someone asks for help when you’re busy, explain your situation kindly but offer support later if possible.

This approach makes teamwork better and keeps everyone feeling heard and valued.

Set clear structures and timelines

Setting clear structures and timelines is key for healthy work boundaries. Start by marking out your tasks with specific deadlines. This way, everyone knows what needs doing and by when.

It helps keep the team focused. Plus, it stops work from spilling into personal time.

Talk to your boss or team about these plans. Make sure they fit with overall goals. If changes happen, update your plan right away. This keeps everyone on the same page and respects each person's time and effort.

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Assertiveness, Listening Skills and Emotional Intelligence Training

Knowing When to Say No

Saying no can be tough, especially at work. Yet, it's key to keeping your boundaries strong and respecting your own limits. It shows you value your time and well-being. You protect your mental energy this way, avoiding burnout from taking on too much.

Learning when and how to say no is a skill that takes practice. Do it with respect and clarity. Explain assertively why you are saying no when needed, but stay firm in your decision. This helps in maintaining healthy work relationships without stretching yourself too thin.

Empathy also helps to calm down the other person, making it more likely they will accept your answer. If you can propperly demonstrate that you understand the impact you saying no will have on the other person then are less likely to keep pushing you. They won't think that if only they could explain it better then you'll finaly understand how important it is, and change your mind. For example, you could say, "I can see how concerned you are about this deadline", or "It must be worrying to think this might be delayed".  Then if you can follow it up with an assertive stateent like, "I' worry about letting somone down I've already given my commitment to if I stop working on their thing in order to prioritise your thing". 

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Learn how to be both firm and fair

Prioritising Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is key. It lets you do your best at work without feeling too tired or stressed.

Taking time off

Everyone needs a break. It's key for staying happy and healthy at work. Time off lets us rest and recharge away from the job. Plan your vacation time wisely to make sure you return feeling refreshed.

Let your team know in advance, so everything keeps running smoothly while you're away.

Using technology helps too – set up an email auto-reply to let people know you're on holiday. This way, incoming emails won't pile up, waiting for your return. Enjoying this break fully means stepping back completely; don't check work messages or calls.

Your well-being matters most, and taking this time strengthens your ability to perform well when you get back to work.

Using technology to help protect boundaries

After deciding to take time off, it's smart to use tech tools to keep your work boundaries strong. Apps can mute work notifications after hours, helping you enjoy personal time. Calendars shared with colleagues show when you're busy or off-duty, cutting down on unwanted calls or emails during breaks.

Tech also makes remote work smoother by setting clear times for availability. Tools like automatic email replies can tell others when you'll respond. This way, everyone knows not to expect immediate answers outside certain hours, supporting a healthy balance between work and home life.

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Learn how to tune in to others and enable them to tune in to you

Dealing with Boundary-Breakers

Sometimes, you'll meet people at work who don't respect your boundaries. They might ask too much of you or ignore your needs. Stand firm with these boundary-breakers. Use clear and respectful words to tell them about your limits again.

It's okay to repeat yourself if they keep forgetting.

If talking doesn't help, seek advice from a manager or HR. Explain the situation using facts and how it affects your work. This step can lead to changes that support better working relationships and protect your well-being at work.

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Now by involving people he takes them with him

Practical Strategies For Setting Boundaries At Work - Conclusion

Setting boundaries at work is key to a healthy and productive life. It's about clear communication, understanding each other, and making sure you're valued. When done right, it leads to better work-life balance and happiness in your job.

Don't shy away from tough conversations or worry too much about what others think. Your well-being matters the most. Start small if you need to, but start today – your future self will thank you for it!

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Learn to get taken more seriously

Practical Strategies For Setting Boundaries At Work FAQs

1. What does setting boundaries at work mean?

Setting boundaries at work is about knowing and expressing what you're okay with, like how much overtime you'll do or when you take your lunch break. It helps keep a good balance and stops work from being too much.

2. Why are workplace boundaries important?

Boundaries stop jobs from becoming toxic environments. They help everyone understand their job responsibilities without causing personal conflict or feeling overworked.

3. How can I start building boundaries with my team?

Start by identifying your priorities and work style, then share these with your team in a clear way. Be open about what times are for work and when you need to focus on self-care.

4. Can setting boundaries make me seem less of a team player?

Not at all! Good boundary setting shows that you know how to manage your time well, which actually makes you more reliable and respected in the long run.

5. What if someone doesn't respect my set boundaries?

If this happens, it's key to stay calm but firm - remind them of your limits using complete sentences and explain why they matter for your well-being and overall effectiveness at work.

6. How Can I Effectively Set Boundaries at Work to Improve My Work Situation?

I often find myself working overtime in a toxic environment, struggling with the power dynamic and spending too much time on tasks that should not be my responsibility. What are some effective strategies for establishing boundaries at work to ensure a healthier work situation?

Establishing boundaries at work is crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and protecting your well-being in potentially toxic environments. Most people face challenges in setting certain boundaries due to a complex power dynamic or fear of disrupting interpersonal boundaries. Here is a step-by-step process to guide you in developing effective strategies for boundary setting in any work situation:

Identify the Boundaries: Start by identifying the specific boundaries you need to set. This could involve distinguishing between tasks that are your responsibility and those that are not, or deciding on a hard stop for working overtime. Reflect on your current work situation to understand which interpersonal boundaries are being crossed and what changes are necessary for your well-being.

Prepare Your Conversation: Plan the conversation you need to have with your colleagues or superiors. It's important to communicate your needs in complete sentences, clearly articulating the boundaries you are establishing. For instance, "I have noticed I've been spending too much time on tasks outside my job description, affecting my well-being. I'd like to discuss how we can address this situation."

Offer a Reasonable Explanation: Most people appreciate understanding the rationale behind certain boundaries. If, for example, you're setting boundaries around working overtime because it interferes with personal commitments like a doctor's appointment, explain this. A complete sentence that communicates your needs and reasons can foster understanding and respect for your boundaries.

Handle the Power Dynamic: Navigating the power dynamic in conversations about boundaries can be challenging. Approach these discussions with a mindset of finding a win-win solution. Offer handshakes, either literally or figuratively, as a gesture of goodwill and cooperation. This can help in establishing boundaries while maintaining a positive relationship with your boss or colleagues.

Reinforce Your Boundaries: Reinforcing your boundaries is an ongoing process. It involves reminding others of your needs and the established interpersonal boundaries, especially if they are forgotten or overlooked. This step is crucial in a toxic environment where boundaries may be routinely ignored.

Adjust as Necessary: Work situations change, and so might the effectiveness of certain boundaries. Be open to revisiting and adjusting your boundaries as needed, ensuring they continue to serve your well-being and professional growth.

By following this step-by-step process and keeping these effective strategies in mind, you can navigate the challenges of setting boundaries at work. Remember, most people will respect your needs when you communicate them clearly and assertively. Establishing boundaries not only improves your work situation but also contributes to a healthier, more productive workplace environment for everyone involved.

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Stand up for your ideas and also respect theirs

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The first session is free so you're not committing yourself until you're sure this training is relevant for you. You will also learn something practical you can use right away that'll help you handle a difficult situation more successfully at work.

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