How to set boundaries and build better relationships with employees?

If you want a stress-free work environment then you should learn to set boundaries. Because at some point in time with or without knowing you are going to be burned out if you aim at pleasing everyone.

But the problem is we all feel guilty to say “No” we all feel bad when someone asks us to do something and we turn them down. So here’s the deal, you can either decline it and feel bad for a couple of hours or you can accept it and curse yourself until the work gets done. 

Here are some tips to avoid these kinds of situations or at least make them more professional.

Understand your needs

It always starts with you. Before you start helping others assess your situation, I want you to answer these questions to understand your needs.

  • Can you do this?
  • Can you really do this? (because I’m pretty sure you didn’t think properly the first time)
  • Is your personal schedule remaining intact if you “help” this employee?
  • Are your personal values intact?
  • Have you made a schedule to balance your work and theirs?
  • Is the schedule realistic?

These are the basic questions you need to ask before you dive in to help someone in distress. If you answer ‘No’ for even one of these questions, then you should reconsider. 

Have clear communications

You’ll have to talk with your employees. Let’s say for example you don’t like to gossip and someone just started a sentence with “Guess what happened….” you should tell them clearly that while you appreciate their gesture, you don’t want to indulge in gossip.

Similarly, tell them what they can expect of you when they come to you for help. What are your limits, where do you draw the line, and what do you not like to do? I know it feels awkward but once you open up about what you want people actually respect that

Create clear roles and limits 

When working as a team, coordination, helping and being taken advantage of can blend in together. It’d be too late by the time you realize. Instead of regretting it later make it clear earlier. 

Tell your team that you all have roles for a reason and that they should try their best to follow their limits. Tell them that while you are happy to help, you do have your own limits and would like it if they respected them.

Delegate work

If you are a team leader or even part of a team, then you should be delegating work. You should not be the only one to do all the work under any circumstances. Sometimes, you might think that you want it to be perfect and it’ll be perfect by doing it all yourself. But that isn’t how teams work. 

If you do it all by yourself there is a good chance that your employees will think that you consider them less knowledgeable

Learn to give away some of your workloads to other people. By doing so you gain their trust and also can maintain a healthy relationship.

Learn to say “No”

Credits: Image by nadineshaabana from unsplash

Like I said earlier, it starts with you. Saying “No” is a huge shortcoming for a lot of people. We feel guilty to turn down when someone asks us for something. But learning to say ‘No” is the best thing that I ever learned in my life. It does feel guilty but being polite is certainly not going to give you time for what you want.

So always remember you have priorities and you have responsibilities. Like the other person who is asking you to dedicate your time to something that benefits them. Once this thought gets wired in your brain you, my friend, will have a huge chunk of time to do what you want.

Some of the ways you can politely decline things:

  • “I wish I could, but I have something else going on.”
  • “I have too much to do for today.” (or the day they are asking for)
  • “Thanks for thinking of me, but I’m afraid I can’t.”

Respect others

Respect is a two-way path. You give respect and you receive it back. So whenever you are reminding your employees that you have limits or when you are turning down something they want you to get done, be respectful. Some other ways you can show that you respect them is by 

  • Listening actively to what they say
  • Appreciate their contributions
  • Give them constructive feedback
  • Providing them with a comfortable environment 


By setting boundaries you make a workplace feel safe, and comfortable all the while increasing the productivity of the employees. This also leads to better communication and coordination on the part of employees since they feel safe. Better communication leads to better professional relationships making the whole environment a pathway to success

Author bio

I’m Vy. I’m a digital marketer and a blogger who helps content creators make better content. I’ve been observing the trends in the digital marketing niche since 2016. I also write about topics that help you make your life better. You can find my blog at https://thisisvy.net/

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