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Ask Kirubi: For ‘Employees’ Only


While your employer or boss is doing his best to give you a work purpose, you on the other hand need to extend your appreciation by observing the boundaries that have been set. Boundaries and in particular codes of conduct are more often than not disobeyed at the workplace. Most of you feel that they limit or confine you to a certain space or way doing things.


Boundaries serve a purpose in the work place. They establish acceptable behavior and how this affects the way employees relate and communicate with each other. Boundaries build a positive emotional climate that provides clarity and direction for employees to be focused and produce results. It helps you identify with the company focusing on what is crucial. It’s important for companies to maintain boundaries that will keep people united and not entirely focus on the bureaucratic or autocratic way of managing and decision making.

Leaders/employers also need boundaries that keep them from operating or being a closed system. The workplace is meant to be enjoyable and fulfilling, not as limiting as a jail or correctional facility. Let these boundaries encourage honest feedback, wean out fear and bring employees together.

While some companies embrace the open system, be sure never to cross the line of familiarity particularly with your seniors. Many employees confuse a relaxed, conducive environment for familiarity. The same way society demands of us to respect our elders or those superior to us regardless of age, is the same way the workplace does. Remember, I am not your friend. I am your senior and/or employer first!

It saddens me that those seeking job opportunities or partnerships approach interviews, potential employers and investors casually. I get so many requests on a day to day basis, many of them from learned friends. However, I am left with no choice but to ignore most of them simply because the language is too familiar and borders disrespect.

This also goes for social media. I agree it’s a place for social networking where formalities are dropped. However, if you will go ahead and seek a job opportunity or meeting request via these platforms, be courteous enough and adhere to the formalities. If you feel different, then limit your conversation strictly to social content.  Writing in slang, sheng or short form will only get you ignored by business people like myself if you are seeking professional assistance.

The same applies when you accidentally meet prominent personalities or are invited to a gathering with dignitaries. Adhere to the boundaries and protocols when you interact regardless of the environment you are in. This shows that you regard the person highly.

Establishing and maintaining boundaries helps define roles, enhance communication, limit inappropriate behavior and overall increase productivity. You understand your limit at the work place and when conflict rises, it can be handled effectively because you know what to do, what to say and how to say it.

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As an employee, you need to understand these boundaries from the first day of work so as to align yourself with the expectations of the company and those you work with.

Different situations call for different solutions. Adhere to the boundaries and standard procedures set for meetings, interviews, job applications etc. They are there for a reason.

Familiarity brings contempt. Don’t bring contempt and lose out on an opportunity. Know your limit, know your boundaries and stick to them.

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