As someone who grew up in a very tumultuous home, I find it very difficult to create boundaries. However, I see that the most successful relationships I have in my life today are thriving with proper boundaries.
Before we talk about boundaries with our clients and boundaries with our staff, we first have to understand what healthy boundaries look like. Healthy boundaries always benefit both parties, unhealthy boundaries usually isolate one person from the other.
Here are some examples of unhealthy boundaries:
- Saying 'yes' to people when you want to say 'no'
- Feeling guilty when you have to say 'no'
- Taking on responsibility for other peoples reactions and feelings
- Spending more time thinking of others reactions to your behavior than your own
- Having difficulty expressing emotions to others and loved ones
- Feeling uncomfortable when you are around others for too long
- Pushing others away in all relationships
When it comes to positive boundaries, I believe Anne Katherine says it best:
Now that we have an understanding of positive and negative boundaries, we need to shift our focus to our careers. Salon owners have to take a deep breath and an even deeper look into the boundaries with their staff. I coach many salon owners, and helping them identify where their boundaries are lacking is one of my biggest jobs. When we lack boundaries with our team, our business quickly becomes more about putting out fires than moving forward. Feelings get hurt, gossip grows in the break room, animosity festers, and people walk out on us. These are all effects of lacking proper boundaries. Whether you are what I call a 'friend boss' or a 'dictator boss' - both extremes lack boundaries. Strong leaders have strong boundaries.
As stylists we can lack appropriate boundaries with our clients. Our industry is a lot more fluid and fun than most, but fluids require barriers and boundaries in order to flow to the proper places. Take a hose for example, we use the rubber tube as a barrier to help us control and use he water most efficiently. When we lack these barriers we usually end up wasting water and spending a lot of extra time and energy cleaning up a mess.
As professionals we teach people how to treat us. Below are some ways to tell if you are lacking boundaries with your clients:
- Clients are consistently late
- Clients make inappropriate demands on us
- Clients over use curse words and gossip
- Clients ignore us while we are working
- Clients do not want to pay our prices
- Clients make us feel uncomfortable
It is important to remember that none of these behaviors are usually our clients fault. Most of these behaviors show up when we, as the professional, lack proper boundaries. It's much easier to blame the client than it is to take responsibility in the moment. It's much easier to blame our employees than it is to bear the responsibility as the leader.
Here are the steps to start creating stronger boundaries for a happier and healthier career:
- Pause (do not react to the person or the situation in front of you)
- Take a second to look at the present situation and ask yourself "where am I lacking proper boundaries in this moment?"
- Either write it down or make a mental note of where you see the boundaries lacking
- Take and action or make a statement that slowly but surely starts to apply your new found boundary
- Do not react to the response
Remember that change doesn’t happen overnight and just because we are creating a new boundary doesn’t mean everyone is going to immediately fall in line. Consitency is key to change. Much like the gym, we must continue to go so we continue to grow!
Where can you start building proper boundaries today?