Merge's Blog

Setting boundaries is key to building resiliency

My last video in our series on building resiliency got a few reactions, particularly on the subject of working late and sending email at odd hours.  Apparently, many of you leaders aren’t very good at being positive role models for building resiliency when it comes to turning the work switch to Off 😊.  So today’s tip is about setting boundaries – ideally for yourself, but most definitely, for giving your people permission to do so.

Set boundaries for yourself …

The topics of working late and sending email at odd hours are what brought this topic to the forefront.  So let’s address these two issues specifically.  As a leader, to become more resilient, you need to recognize that you need to unplug.  If not daily, at least once or twice a week – for your physical, intellectual and emotional health.  Now I am not talking about the occasional or infrequent busy times at work when all hands are needed on deck.  As long as these instances are sporadic, all is well.  I AM talking about working constantly, whether at work or home, and reading and responding to email 24-7.  If you are guilty of these, then you need to dial it back, for your own wellness.  Perhaps you can commit to one or two evenings a week when the desk is cleared off and all work devices are put away.  Not only will this improve your wellness and resiliency, but it will also give you the added bonus of more quality time with the ones you love.

… And make it easy for others to do so as well

But setting boundaries isn’t just for yourself.  If you are serious about building resiliency in your staff, you need to be even more conscientious with them.  Let them know that just because you are working all hours of the night doesn’t mean that you expect the same from them.  If you’re sending out emails in the wee hours of the morning, they need to know that you are not anticipating immediate responses.  If you absolutely cannot stop yourself from doing so, I suggest you use the “Delayed send” feature on your email.  Most email software allows you to schedule email to be delivered at a later time.  If you’re writing emails at 2 AM in the morning, then schedule them to go out at 8 AM.  That way, your staff won’t feel like they also need to be dealing with email in the middle of the night.

My point is this. Setting boundaries for yourself is a way to build YOUR resiliency.  But if you are truly committed to building resiliency in YOUR PEOPLE, then you need to give them permission, you need to make it easy for them to set boundaries for themselves.  You need to make them feel that it is okay to say no sometimes, without negative repercussions.

As always, I’d love to hear what you think.  Are you making is possible for your people to set boundaries?  Perhaps more importantly, are you setting boundaries for yourself in order to be a good role model for building resiliency?  Do tell.

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