Another tendency of BPD traits, is a history of changing jobs due to unstable sense of identity and goals. The hypersensitivity to their surroundings may cause individuals with BPD to feel that others are humiliating them so working on a team project may induce competitive behaviour rather than cooperation because of the desire for recognition.
Helping an employee with BPD
As an employer, providing an employee with BPD as much consistency as possible is important to providing a stable environment. Try to value each employee’s quirks and personalities as potential strengths in the organisation rather than singling out specific behaviours and focus on expectations from all employees. Although there can sometimes be overt evidence of impulsive or disruptive behaviours, the issues usually manifest in more subtle ways.
Demonstrate validation of emotions and stay civil… Do not cross boundaries and try to document everything.
It can be a challenge interacting with individuals with BPD so it is essential to set limits clearly and stress proper workplace conduct, remind about completing assigned tasks and take consideration of coworker’s feelings. An explanation of the appropriate time and place for different interactions such as meetings, problems and complaints may be necessary. Also be prepared for protests and the possibility that the employee will be mad with you for unknown reasons. Keep in mind to prevent meetings deteriorating into arguments. Demonstrate validation of emotions and stay civil. You don’t necessarily want to validate an employee’s perspective, instead validate the feelings attached to this perspective – “I hear you” or “I understand the way you feel.” Do not cross boundaries and try to document everything.
If efforts to manage an employee or coworker with BPD are ineffective, contact the Employee Assistance Program coordinator at your company to assist the individual. You can encourage the person with BPD that talking with someone through the Employee Assistance Program might be helpful in getting through a stressful period or dealing with an issue.
People with BPD live with difficult emotional experiences every day and may need professional BPD treatment to learn adaptive strategies in managing the symptoms that disrupt their productive work life. Be encouraging of the employee if they do seek proper treatment as you may be investing in an employee with great potential and establishing an open and healthy work environment.
Accommodations for employees with BPD
Increasing your workplace’s confidence with mental health means a supportive, positive and inclusive environment that benefits everyone. Several accommodations can be provided by employers for individuals with BPD. Some of these accommodations are designed to support self-care, reduce work-related stress or to encourage positive interactions with coworkers and managers: