Yet setting no boundaries when under duress to play would very clearly lead to future requests. Surely better to set some boundaries to the expectation about where you might field or where you are prepared to bat in the order? At least if some caveats are outlined everyone knows the limitation of any future contribution and the precedent is contained.
A similar thing happens when someone is ‘acting up’ into a job or on probation for a new role. The person can be reluctant to set boundaries to what is expected of them because they feel under pressure to fulfill the expectation, no matter how extreme that expectation might turn out to be. I have seen someone be driven to resignation from a post because the expectations were unachievable, and they felt unable to set clear boundaries. While there is always a transition period and a challenging time when new and old roles run in parallel, it is vital that you set and deal with boundary issues early. Otherwise you end up feeling a sense of resentment and that you are being taken advantage of, and this is rarely a formula for role success. The saying goes ‘you get what you accept’.
Setting of boundaries need not be a negative conversation, it can take the form of a;
- request for priorities e.g. In order to achieve x which of y or z will is lowest priority?
- statement of what IS possible, rather than what is NOT e.g. ‘of those 3 tasks I can complete x and y by Friday, when would you like to reschedule z to?
Just beware of others either testing or playing power games. Investigate requests and find out what makes them important, and set clear boundaries for anything you feel is unethical or inappropriate.
When have you failed to set boundaries and regretted it?
What did you learn from that experience?
Where do you need to set boundaries in your life now?