How can the awareness of, creation of, and management of effective boundaries help busy Dads in business and leadership positions? our contributing write, Ruby Phillips explores boundaries and offers a framework to help set (and keep!) effective boundaries that work across our many roles.
CREATING BOUNDARIES (AND STICKING TO THEM)
Boundaries stop us surpassing our personal limits. They help us to find balance and fulfilment, which can be difficult as a busy dad! Get your boundaries straight to build your life up.
So, how do we choose our boundaries?
You might feel that setting boundaries at work could be interpreted as a sign of weakness, when in fact it’s a massive strength. Creating boundaries for yourself and looking past the anxieties of what others may think will allow you to produce quality work over quantity, encouraging the rewarding feeling of success to run more deeply.
Know when to clock off!
Boundaries are designed to protect your energy and boost your progress. Knowing when to clock off and avoid burn out is essential in looking after wellbeing and boosting productivity at work.
These work boundaries that you create – such as knowing your limits and appropriately delegating tasks to align with this – are closely linked to personal boundaries. It all comes down to your ability say ‘no’ – to others and to yourself. When deciding boundaries, listen to your mind and body, look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself if you are striking a healthy work-life balance and making enough time for what is important.
Creating new boundaries reflects personal growth and self-respect – it’s all character building!
Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy, organizational psychologists and authors of ‘The Gap and The Gain’, talk about measuring success during their podcast ‘The Difference Between Happy and Unhappy Achievers’.
As highly successful coaches of entrepreneurs they say that ‘success is not a function of how people see you on the outside, but how you see yourself on the inside’.
Notice when the workload is too heavy. If you are setting yourself too many goals to reach then you may not be able to measure your progress for each separate thing accurately, whilst reaching burn out faster and neglecting other areas of life.
Our research suggests that half of dads believe that having young kids is a weakness for career progression.
Check out our Dads in Business Workplace Insights for more about how the changing face of the workplace is affecting working Dads.
Juggling the roles of leadership and parenting is a massive thing and can leave you feeling held back on either side. But being a dad should be rewarding and not something that feels like a weakness. Setting boundaries is important to allow a work to life balance that adds to your happiness, including quality time with the kids.
The way Sullivan and Hardy describe this is by outlining the difference between ‘measuring yourself against ideals and measuring yourself from where you have come from’. This is described as falling into the ‘gap’ of feeling disappointed when comparing with others, and feeling the ‘gain’ through measuring success against how far you’ve come personally.
Only you truly know your personal success and the hard work it took to reach your previous goals. So, set your boundaries that allow you to move at your own pace, considering where you are at in life and what you can handle at any time, allowing yourself to delegate tasks where necessary to lighten the load. Be kind to yourself!
FOUR STAGES TO SETTING BOUNDARIES
- IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS
Why is this change needed? What has made you decide on this boundary? Am I making sure that I am not acting on impulse? Is this thoroughly thought through?
2. DEFINE YOUR BOUNDARY
Who does this effect? What is the purpose of this boundary? How will it change things for the better? Is this boundary fair to yourself and others?
3. MAKE IT KNOWN
Assert your boundaries so that you are on the same page and on track. Explain the purpose of your boundary to others, and don’t apologise for your personal boundaries, as they are important for growth and nothing to be sorry for.
4. PUT IT INTO PRACTICE
Allowing yourself to implement boundaries will feed back into all areas of life as you will find yourself relaxing more and feeling empowered by your ability to create and stick to boundaries, as you feel the effects of them.
Boundaries and communication go hand in hand. We all have ‘off’ days, it’s totally human and (especially when we have neglected our work boundaries!), it’s how we communicate our needs to others that counts. Respecting each other’s personal boundaries builds healthier connections and allows you to take extra control of your life; Forming stronger personal boundaries will help you to make the most of your own time and your relationships.
What these can look like:
‘I need some space today’
‘Tuesday evenings are for my hobby’
‘I’m not comfortable with X’ It’s important to respect one another’s personal boundaries to form and maintain healthy relationships. This could be boundaries with your partner, friends, colleagues or kids.
TEACHING KIDS BOUNDARIES
Teaching kids boundaries.
As important as it is to have your own boundaries, teaching your kids boundaries is essential to their formation of values.
Boundaries create respect and model social interaction, and so there must be boundaries put in place between parents and kids as to teach them how to treat others and you (so that you don’t find yourself (overly) drained of energy by your kids or disrespected by moody teenagers!).
In early years and beyond, children are like sponges. They need to learn how to develop their own boundaries and be self-assured in saying when they do or don’t like something. Teaching them how to stand up for themselves and say no is essential for their growth, just as it is for adults and parents.
Here are some links that advise ways to approach boundaries with your children, and why they are so important:
Boundaries for kids:
(Sourced from VeryWellFamily): https://www.verywellfamily.com/whos-the-boss-how-to-set-healthy-boundaries-for-kids-3956403
(Sourced from Child Mind Institute: https://childmind.org/article/teaching-kids-boundaries-empathy/
Boundaries for teenagers: