A Guide To Saying No At Work

We have all experienced that moment when we are asked to do something, feeling like we cannot refuse. However, we know that we face enormous problems in managing everything we already have on the fire if we accept the task requested. 

Knowing how and when to say no at work is a real dilemma. If you want to optimize your time and, above all, have time for yourself and your projects, then knowing how to say no at work is one of the viable solutions.

We are human, our time and energy are limited, so it is impossible to say yes to everything that is asked of us, except to kill ourselves in the job.

Visualize The Consequences Of Saying No

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Project yourself to following your answer: what am I risking to say no? Will saying no to my supervisor risk losing my job?

This is how you will realize that you are overestimating the risk and dramatizing the consequences of a response that may be perceived as “normal” by your supervisor.

Assert Yourself Without Being Aggressive

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People who fail to say no subconsciously perceive no as a form of aggression. Sometimes they dread saying no so much that the no throw can be sharp and clumsy. It is in these circumstances that the no can be misunderstood and lead to misunderstandings. 

To learn to say no, you have to develop your assertiveness to be firm in substance while remaining flexible in form. The content of your message should be clear and unequivocal: “I cannot take over this task,” but express it in a kind and empathetic manner. “I understand that it is difficult for you.” “I wish I could help you.”

Postpone Your Answer

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Do you have to answer right away? If this is not the case, take the time to measure the consequences of this new task on your schedule and give your answer later, explaining why you should refuse this task.

If you must respond immediately, do your reasoning out loud in the presence of the other person. Make them participate in your reflection to make them aware of your issues. They will then realize that you cannot take on the task they have asked you to do.

Saying No To Employees

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In theory, it is easy for the supervisor to say no to their employees. In practice, however, it is all a question of balance since employees’ desires sometimes do not reconcile with the company objectives that, as a boss, you must always keep under control. It is crucial to communicate intelligently and clearly, to be respected as a capable superior. 

There is nothing worse than a boss who systematically says no and rejects favors for no reason just because their position allows it. The best thing is a communication strategy that clearly shows that you understand and respect the employee’s wishes. But for specific reasons (at the moment), are obliged to say no.

Saying No To Your Colleagues

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If you want to decline requests for help from colleagues, you should never react impulsively and impatiently. Thus you offend your interlocutor and poison the atmosphere within the team. In the worst-case scenario, you will be given the reputation of an angry and selfish colleague. 

If, with all your goodwill, you cannot (or do not want to) accept the assignment, it is better not only to know how to say no but also to offer alternatives. Look with your colleagues for a way to still be able to get the job done on time. In this way, you will show that you understand the situation of your colleagues and have team spirit.

Written By:
Titi Dokubo

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