Practical Ways To Start Setting Boundaries As A Woman LeaderApr 04, 2023
Women leaders face unique challenges in the workplace, including gender bias and systemic barriers that can make it difficult for them to thrive. Without clear boundaries, these challenges can be exacerbated, leading to burnout, stress, and health problems.
As a woman physician leader, setting boundaries is essential for your well-being, productivity, and success. Boundaries help you to define your limits and protect your time and energy, allowing you to prioritize your goals and responsibilities effectively.
Demonstrating healthy boundary behaviors as a women physician leader can ultimately impact the culture of your organization removing biases, harassment and benefiting the whole team. As a leader you have the opportunity to change the culture of medicine for more than yourself. However, setting boundaries is often easier said than done.
HOW DO YOU GET STARTED SETTING BOUNDARIES?
Here are some tips for setting boundaries as a woman physician leader:
1. Clarify your priorities: Define what is most important to you, professionally and personally. Identify your long-term goals, and align your boundaries accordingly. This requires ongoing self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-compassion, as well as a willingness to prioritize your own needs and goals.
2. Communicate your boundaries: Clearly communicate your boundaries to your colleagues, team members, and stakeholders. Be assertive and confident when explaining your limits, but also be respectful and empathetic.
3. Say "no" when necessary: Saying "no" is a powerful boundary-setting tool. One of the greatest challenges for many women physician leaders is learning to say "no." There are several factors that can contribute to this difficulty, including a desire to take care of those you lead, a culturally expected "perfectionism mindset," and impostor feelings pushing you harder than necessary. When you feel overloaded, or a request is not aligned with your priorities, it's okay to decline. Remember, saying "no" is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength and self-awareness.
4. Set boundaries for technology: Limit your accessibility to work emails, texts, or calls during non-work hours. Consider creating an automatic email response that informs people when you are unavailable or out of the office.
5. Practice self-care: Self-care is crucial for your well-being and resilience. Set boundaries around your time off, exercise routine, and other self-care activities. Make sure to prioritize your physical, emotional, and mental health.
Setting boundaries goes beyond just saying no or creating rules. It's about defining what's important and communicating it effectively to others. Women physician leaders who struggle with setting boundaries can benefit from support and mentorship from like-minded peers and colleagues, as well as sharing of resources and coaching.
HOW CAN AN INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY HELP WITH MAINTAINING BOUNDARIES?
Joining a community of like-minded peers can be highly beneficial for women physician leaders looking to set and maintain boundaries. Here are some ways in which such a community can add value:
1. Support and Encouragement: Being part of a community of peers who understand the challenges of being a physician leader can be a great source of support and encouragement. You can share your experiences, ask for advice, and receive feedback and encouragement from others who have been there before.
2. Accountability: Being part of a community of peers can help you stay accountable to your goals and commitments. By sharing your goals and progress with others, you can stay motivated and focused, and receive support and feedback when you need it.
3. Networking Opportunities: Being part of a community of like-minded peers can provide you with valuable networking opportunities. You can connect with others in your field, learn about new trends and opportunities, and potentially find new job opportunities.
4. Personal and Professional Growth: Being part of a community of peers can help you grow both personally and professionally. You can learn from others' experiences, receive feedback on your own ideas and strategies, and gain new perspectives and insights.
5. Sense of Belonging: Being part of a community of peers can provide you with a sense of belonging and connection. You can connect with others who share your values, goals, and experiences, and feel a sense of camaraderie and support.
WHY IS SETTING BOUNDARIES SO IMPORTANT?
Setting boundaries is especially important for women physician leaders, who often face the double bind of being expected to be highly competent while also fulfilling societal expectations around caregiving and nurturing. By setting boundaries, women physician leaders can lead by example, demonstrating the importance of self-care and work-life harmony to their teams and colleagues and ultimately changing the culture of their organization.
Effective boundary-setting requires clear and assertive communication and the willingness to advocate for oneself and one's needs in the workplace. Women physician leaders who prioritize their needs and set clear boundaries are more likely to achieve long-term success, fulfillment, and well-being in their careers.
Learning to set boundaries can be a transformative process, allowing women physician leaders to achieve greater clarity, focus, and success in both their personal and professional lives. It is an ongoing process that requires self-awareness, self-care, and effective communication skills. However, with practice and support, women physician leaders can overcome the challenges of boundary-setting and achieve greater success and well-being in their careers.
Need help setting boundaries? Reach out today.