How to say no is not taught in school. I cannot remember a single time in high school or college when this was even mentioned in a class. But, the ability to say no is one of the most important things I’ve learned during my career.
Most workers do not feel secure in themselves to tell a superior “No.” What they don’t realize is that many bosses find this to be a mark of a good leader.
You are hired to do your job. You’re also expected to grow within that job. Saying no is a trait of a maturing person. There is a proper time and way to say it though.
I’ve seen several instances when an employee takes on way too much work because he felt like he had to prove he could handle the workload. Unfortunately, that usually results in overwhelm and a job not being completed well.
I say “No.” Okay, I don’t just say it like that. There is a proper way to say it.
Try these approaches:
“Sure, I’d love to take on that responsibility but I’m going to have to give this other project to someone else.”
“I’m happy to do that but I have these other responsibilities. Can we discuss the priorities and timing of each project so it all can get done?”
“I will do it if you want but Sue has the perfect skill set for that. What does her schedule look like?”
My uncle, who is a very successful business owner, said he had some employees tell him no because they were too busy. He said, “You don’t tell the owner ‘No.’ You say you will do it but you need other resources.”
He was completely right. Your responsibility is to do what the boss asks. But, your boss also expects you to do the job well and will provide you the resources if you need them. He probably will not know you need the resources unless you tell him. It is okay to ask for help.
Have you matured enough in your career to say no? Has it ever back-fired on you for not saying it? What other ways can you think of for saying no?
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