Know When to Say “No”

The truth is too many people are afraid to say “no” in the workplace, especially to those in more senior positions.

Many individuals are ‘people pleasers’ and simply haven’t learned that it’s ok to say “no” at times, provided it’s done in an appropriate way.

According to William Ury, author of The Power of a Positive No, in today’s world of high stress and limitless choices, the pressure to give in and say Yes grows greater every day, producing overload and overwork, expanding e-mail and eroding ethics. Never has No been more needed.

There is a common misconception that a person who takes on everything (and never says no) will go far and go quicker.

This may be true to a large extent, since which manager doesn’t like an employee who will never turn them down?

But here’s the problem:

• What if you’d bitten off more than you could chew and missed out on other high-profile work, because you simply didn’t have the bandwidth and therefore weren’t even considered?
• What if you didn’t know how to say “no” and ended up half way across the country or world, and weren’t able to spend time with your family or loved ones?
• What if you took on too much work consistently for years and were now exhausted, burnt out, and bitter?

What if it’s been so long since you last said “no”, that you don’t even know how to?

Being able to push back on workload and people is an essential skill to learn, for the long haul survival of a balanced yet successful career.

Here are 5 reasons why saying “no” will help you in your career:

1. Contrary to belief, when pushing back and saying “no” is done in the right way at work, managers and colleagues will start to respect and value you more.

2. People who have clarity on their next career goal, don’t get distracted by additional requests of unrelated work.

3. Being in a position to discern what to push back on, and when, helps keep laser focus on your vision, task at hand and goal, enabling you to get there much faster.

4. Managing your workload will allow you to run the extra mile when it’s really required, instead of getting worn down with extra work that you secretly resent taking on.

5. Being unable to say “no” (particularly to clients or managers) could mean taking on more than you can realistically achieve, and end up under delivering, after setting expectations so high. This eventually affects the perception others have of you and can play on your confidence.

Managing expectations is something I talk about a lot with my clients. It’s no great thing to try and be a hero, taking on a task or workload that you simply cannot deliver on.

Here are 3 acceptable ways to say “no” and push back:

1. Prioritise & Negotiate

When managing expectations with a client or manager, first you must assess your current workload. If taking on this new work will stretch you too far, now’s the time to negotiate.

Prioritise your work and explain that something has to give if you are to complete on time. Then put the ball in the requester’s court, and have him/her decide the order of your work and realistic timescales for completion.

2. Balance

Learn to get the balance right. Pushing back ALL the time is not going to get you far, so don’t swing to the other extreme.

Doing ‘favours’ and going the extra mile every now and then wins you points, but be sure to let the other person know that this is outside of your usual scope of work, and that you’re simply helping out on this occasion. They’ll think twice about continuously dumping work on you.

It’s the ‘people pleasers’ that pretend they have no issues taking on everyone’s load that get loaded the most, since everyone thinks they’re fine and dandy with it.

3. Assess & Delegate

It’s always important to assess what is being asked of you.  If you’re in a position to delegate the task, you could consider taking it on provided it doesn’t interfere with your existing priorities and tasks at hand.

Remember, being able to push back also includes being able to push back on behalf of your team members. Constantly dumping on them is not good management.

Go ahead and ask yourself, are you a people pleaser? Are you too afraid to say “no” to your manager or clients?

To conclude

Every professional must learn to balance the act of taking on work and being able to push back and say “no”.

This is imperative if the goal is to experience success through a happier, more work balanced career with longevity.

Hopefully the tips I’ve shared will help you manage this skill better, so that you’re not taken for a ride every time, but are still considered a valuable contributor to the team & firm.

Twitter
Follow Me
Tweet
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
Shivani Bhagi

Shivani Bhagi is a Career Success Coach & Leadership Specialist. She’s the creator of the 90-Day-Careers® system helping corporate professionals successfully advance or transition in their careers in less time for more recognition and rewards.

A seasoned corporate trainer, Shivani has facilitated over 200 management and leadership level workshops for Fortune 500 organizations in the tech, finance and consulting industries.

Having personally experienced advancement, transition and reinvention in her own career, Shivani’s incredible journey led her to uncover her passion for helping others reach their potential, by confidently taking charge of their careers.

Check out Shivani’s website at www.shivanibhagi.com. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

Twitter
Follow Me
Tweet
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

4 Tips for Failing Forward
4 Tips for Failing Forward

After you make a mistake, it’s easy to focus intently on your defects. And then

Press Release: Be Leaderly’s Selena Rezvani Wins 2019 Croly Award for Excellence in Journalism
Press Release: Be Leaderly’s Selena Rezvani Wins 2019 Croly Award for Excellence in Journalism

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—July 9, 2019—The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is pleased to honor Selena

4 Steps to a Flexible Work Arrangement
4 Steps to a Flexible Work Arrangement

Are you hungry for a little more flexibility in your day?  If so, you’re not

Dealing with a Bossy Coworker
Dealing with a Bossy Coworker

You might expect the occasional “order” or “command” from your boss. But it’s a whole

Press Release: Be Leaderly Wins Gold & Silver at the 2019 Stevie Awards
Press Release: Be Leaderly Wins Gold & Silver at the 2019 Stevie Awards

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—June 11, 2019—Be Leaderly, a globally recognized provider of women’s leadership development and

15 Questions to Ask Before Taking a Stretch Assignment
15 Questions to Ask Before Taking a Stretch Assignment

Stretch assignments are like the Instant Pot of career development. An intensely challenging, ambitious, go-big-or-go-home

How Can Pay Transparency Make a Difference for Women?
How Can Pay Transparency Make a Difference for Women?

It’s well known that women still deal with a pay gap relative to men. But

5 Things to Know About Your Coworkers with Kids
5 Things to Know About Your Coworkers with Kids

You might’ve attended a baby shower in the break room, or maybe you caught a

4 Underrated Elements of a Career Advancement Plan
4 Underrated Elements of a Career Advancement Plan

A vice president of a financial company once told me, “Make a plan—or someone else

Negotiate Through Your Next Performance Review
Negotiate Through Your Next Performance Review

With performance reviews around the corner, I wanted to write a how-to post on negotiating.

Ask Jo: How can I thank my mentor?

Question: I have an incredible mentor. She ...

Teamwork is a Skill. It Takes Practice!

Everyone wants to lead, or be a ...

It’s Worth the Risk (I promise)

This is Sarah. She’s one of my ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a ...

Leaderly Quote: Great Leaders Know When to Step Aside

“Great leaders know when to step aside.” ...

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Copyright 2019, Be Leaderly