Know When to Say “No”

Like this on Facebook

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.

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.

Recommended

4 Books for Your Leadership Library

Every one needs a “Leadership Library” with resources, practical advice, and thought leadership to help you on your career journey. Here’s a list of recent books ...

Teach people how to treat you: How to write clear, loving policies for business & life.

You teach people how to treat you. You teach people how to communicate with you. You can’t expect people to “guess” your policies, expectations, hopes ...

3 Presentation Tips to Help You Stop Waffling

The internet is full of presentation tips focused on helping professionals to get rid of bad habits yet in our experience at Mindful Presenter many ...

Ready to lead?

We'll show you how!
Get email updates from Be Leaderly.

Our mission is to provide the career strategies that help you lead, climb and thrive as a rising woman of influence.

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

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

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

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

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 ...

15 Songs for Your Leadership Playlist

It was one of those conference moments I’ll never forget: Carly Fiorina had ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

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

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

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

6 Critical Missteps That Hurt Your Career Advancement

Let’s face it: it isn’t easy to break out and establish yourself as ...

4 Characteristics of Leaders Who Get Hired and Promoted

Imagine if you had the opportunity to sit down with a senior executive ...

Nine Qualities of Female Leaders Who Get Beyond the Glass Ceiling

I’m frequently asked to speak about women in law and specifically the issue ...

5 Things Women Leaders Should Stop Doing. TODAY.

Over the last couple years, I’ve had a front row seat to career ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

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

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

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

8 Types of Courage for Aspiring Leaders

“The truth is that courage resides within you; you must simply decide to ...

How to Manage Former Peers

Let’s talk about a potentially awkward situation. You get a new role and ...

Public speaking tips for introverts. (Like me.)
Public speaking tips for introverts. (Like me.)

It was just an ordinary Tuesday. I woke up, made a strong pot of coffee,

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Roderick Wilson
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Roderick Wilson

This month we shine the Emerging Leader Spotlight on Roderick Wilson, Senior Vice President Market

Leaderly Quote: Strip away the drama from your leadership style…
Leaderly Quote: Strip away the drama from your leadership style…

Need to have a “tough love” conversation with someone at work? Stay calm, stick to

The Number One Way to Make a Difficult Conversation Easier
The Number One Way to Make a Difficult Conversation Easier

Need to have a difficult conversation with an employee, peer, or supervisor at work? Whether

Leaderly Quote: The best way to become who you’re destined to be…
Leaderly Quote: The best way to become who you’re destined to be…

“The best way to become who you’re destined to be is to accept who you

The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month
The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month

Here they are! The most-viewed Be Leaderly articles for the past month. 1. 25 Questions

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Christina Lewis
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Christina Lewis

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what she is doing

Six Ways to Attract and Hire Women in Male-Dominated Industries
Six Ways to Attract and Hire Women in Male-Dominated Industries

Current news stories make it sound like it’s impossible to attract women to high-tech jobs.

Leaderly Quote: There’s something inside you that is stronger…
Leaderly Quote: There’s something inside you that is stronger…

“It’s impossible to please everybody,” writes Alexandra Franzen in her article, You’re Going to be

You Can Make Excuses or You Can Make Progress
You Can Make Excuses or You Can Make Progress

The other day, I hopped in a cab. The driver and I started chatting, as

3 Rules for Rule-Breakers
3 Rules for Rule-Breakers

“You can’t leave your career when you’re at your height—it will derail you.” That was

Leaderly Quote: Everyone needs a few influential advocates.
Leaderly Quote: Everyone needs a few influential advocates.

Everyone needs a few influential advocates. It’s not an exaggeration to say that with one

Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month
Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month

Here’s what other emerging leaders have been reading at BeLeaderly.com this month. Do you like

4 Corporate Culture Questions to Ask in a Job Interview
4 Corporate Culture Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

You’ve made it to the final round job interview, and are starting to feel hopeful.

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.

Subscribe

captcha

PRIVACY

We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address.
Copyright 2017, Be Leaderly