We all know that feeling in the pit of our stomach… when you’ve agreed to take on yet another task to help your colleague, but deep inside you know you don’t really have the time and wished you’d said ‘no’…
We get this feeling because our gut instinct knows that we’ve done the wrong thing for us, and so it warns us of the familiar signs of stress and discomfort. When this happens occasionally, it’s not a big deal. But when it’s happening all the time, the emotional strain gets bigger the more we ignore it – eventually becoming a major cause of stress in our working life.
So, what’s the best way to reduce stress-related issues at work?
Well, by establishing clear and healthy boundaries we can create an environment that supports employees’ mental health and wellbeing, enables clear communication that avoids unnecessary conflict, enhances job satisfaction, and reduces the risk of burnout.
As Brene Brown states in Dare to Lead (2018): “Clear is Kind”.
Boundaries are the rules we set for ourselves and need to be based on our core values – what feels like our gut instinct, so we can use them for aligned decisions and actions. They develop from the day we are born and by the time we are 7 or 8 years old, they are pretty much set and drive everything we do.
Here are 5 reasons why aligning our core values with clear boundaries creates a strong culture in the workplace, which in turn boosts productivity, performance, and engagement:
1. Clarity and Alignment
When you are clear about your core values, you gain a deeper understanding of what truly matters to you and what drives you in all that you do. This clarity helps you to align your actions, choices, and boundaries with what you need to feel a sense of wellbeing.
2. Better Decision-Making
Knowing your core values empowers you to make decisions confidently. When faced with choices or requests, you can assess whether they align with your values and respond accordingly. This then enables you to support your wellbeing by avoiding over-committing.
3. Consistency and Authenticity
Boundaries rooted in core values create a consistent and authentic way of working, which in turn ensures you are seen as a person of integrity. This also fosters trust in your relationships with colleagues, as well as clients or customers – all powerful benefits for the company.
Core values reflect your deepest needs and motivations. When you set boundaries that honour your values, you prioritize your wellbeing. By saying ‘no’ to activities or situations that do not align, you are protecting your physical, emotional, and mental health.
5. Stronger Relationships and Culture
Demonstrating boundaries rooted in values, fosters better communication, which allows for more fulfilling interactions and a healthier workplace culture.
So, the next time you’re faced with a tricky decision, and you have put your boundaries in place, you can simply ask – “How does that connect with my values?”… You’ll have finally found the confidence to say ‘No’ when you really need to!
This guest blog has been written by Sarah Evans, a qualified Coach, Speaker and Trainer, who specialises in connecting the dots between personal values and company values to create workplace success for all. With her 25 years’ experience, Sarah has created a unique coaching framework based on the proven success of screenwriting structure and the Writers’ Room ethos of connecting diverse teams and their independent ideas, towards one clear purpose.
This is now a part of her passion to make every workplace a thriving and safe space by keeping people connected to themselves, their values, and each other through the power of their values story.
Originally from the Liverpool area, Sarah now lives in Worcester, UK with her husband, two teenagers, and crazy trail hound!