Connection Between Boundaries & Duty of Care
We aren’t born with instruction manuals, although I’m sure some wish we were.
We are NOT a product from a manufacturing line, no, we are human beings and as such we all have a different DNA, different personalities, values, belief systems.
As an employer, leader, manager, colleague you have a duty of care (DOC) to those around you but without an instruction manual, how do you know how to motivate and communicate and show DOC?
I’ve talked before about the workspace versus the workplace and how I categories the four, let’s look at how the boundaries between the four have morphed and merged as our home has become our office and our 3rd space (coffee shops etc) filled with others, even our downtime has been depleted. So we want to get back to the office, we want to interact, engage and reignite that feeling of belonging, of trust, of community but how when the boundaries have merged.
Step into your Leadership role, we are ALL leaders, yes – you ARE, you don’t need a fancy title, you need to be you, because that is why others choose to follow you, to come to you for advice, answers and guidance. Who in your life is a leader for you, look deeply not just at work but all around you.
How have your boundaries changed in these last 18 months, maybe they haven’t but I know mine have, here’s my experience:
I’m not a counsellor but I believe the counselling profession widely adopt the boundaries concept of:
Rigid Boundaries – “having a wall up” “hard” not flowing in or out, blocked communication.
Non-existent or Soft Boundaries – Quite the opposite to Rigid. There is no in and out filter, everything flows. This can be risky, as others may take advantage of you.
Porous or Spongy Boundaries – These are permeable, allowing others to push through and perhaps make you feel guilty for your actions.
Healthy or Flexible Boundaries – These are the boundaries that are meant to a happier life – you me and living life in the happy lane.
So what is the difference? Our filters? As these can be changed by life’s experiences.
And what’s the connection between boundaries and DOC. Well, we need to recognise not just our own boundaries but of those around us. How can you support those with Rigid and Non-existent boundaries to adjust their filters? To have more Healthy boundaries, which will reduce stress and anxiety. Do you need to adjust your own filters, do you need to look in the mirror and put your own mask on first?
In April this year, I struck the burnout match and was happy to talk about it, write about it, share it, because by sharing our experiences, helps others to grow, increases our network, our following as a leader. I recognised the signs in April and when I examined my boundaries I found my healthy social media boundaries had become non-existent boundaries during the previous 12 months and this was neither healthy or sustainable, so I had to adjust my filters, it took a while but I am happy to say and now have healthy boundaries again, not just with social media but with email too. I don’t HAVE to reply instantly – in fact I don’t open emails or electronic communication “WhatsApp, messenger etc” until I am in a position to reply.
Everywhere we turn right now, people are talking about getting the teams back to the office, back together and YES, as a human race we need human interactions but as I said at the start, we are all DIFFERENT and we have a DOC to those around us to recognise those differences, to understand those differences and to respect those difference, and to first do this, you need to understand your own style.
Understanding and setting boundaries can help reduce stress and anxiety, so when filters get changed, remind yourself why you set them in the first place. Use this process to support others too.
And remember, it’s so much healthier to live life in the happy lane.
Putting yourself first is not selfish, self-love is not arrogant, duty of care starts with you. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
What is your Duty Of Care (DOC) process? To yourself and to others.
If you had told me that a year later I would still be working remotely, delivering courses and keynotes via video. I’m not sure how my mental health would have been affected by this thought.