Global boundaries serve as a reminder that we need boundaries in business

Establishing boundaries in a toxic work environment  

Working in a hostile work environment can be challenging and overwhelming. However, establishing boundaries is crucial to maintaining your well-being and ensuring that you are treated with respect and dignity. There are power phrases and techniques and protocols for handling toxic people, and you should know them.  Here are some steps you can take to mindfully establish boundaries in a hostile work environment:

  1. Identify the problem: The first step in establishing boundaries is to identify the problem. Pay attention to your interactions with your colleagues and superiors. Identify the behaviors that make you feel uncomfortable or disrespected. This could be anything from being ignored in meetings to being subjected to verbal abuse.

  2. Set clear boundaries: Once you have identified the problem, set clear boundaries. Communicate what behaviors are not acceptable to you and what consequences will follow if those boundaries are crossed. Be firm but respectful in your communication.

  3. Practice assertiveness: In a hostile work environment, it can be challenging to assert your boundaries. However, practicing assertiveness is crucial to maintaining your boundaries. Use "I" statements when communicating your boundaries and avoid blaming or attacking language.

  4. Seek support: It is essential to seek support when establishing boundaries in a hostile work environment. Talk to a trusted friend or colleague or seek the help of a therapist. This support can help you stay focused and provide you with the tools to maintain your boundaries.

  5. Take care of yourself: Establishing boundaries can be emotionally taxing. It is essential to take care of yourself during this process. Engage in self-care activities such as yoga, meditation, or exercise. Take breaks when you need them, and prioritize your well-being.

  6. Document everything: When dealing with a hostile work environment, it is essential to document everything. Keep a record of any incidents that occur and the actions you took to address them. This documentation can be useful if you need to escalate the situation to HR or other authorities.

  7. Know when to escalate: If your boundaries are continuously being crossed, it may be necessary to escalate the situation. This could involve speaking to your supervisor or HR, or seeking legal advice. Know your rights and options in your workplace and seek help when necessary.  Bear in mind that you don't take a problem or situation to HR unless it is critical.  HR is not your friend; HR is the friend of management.  Go there ONLY as a last resort.

Establishing boundaries in a hostile work environment can be challenging, but it is essential to maintain your well-being and ensure that you are treated with respect and dignity. By following these steps, you can establish clear boundaries, practice assertiveness, seek support, take care of yourself, document everything, and know when to escalate the situation. Remember that you have the right to a safe and respectful workplace, and you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.  

For more practical ideas when you're experiencing difficulty in a toxic work environment, or are encountering difficult people daily, go to