Saying No in the Workplace
Why do we always say Yes? Is it fear of failure, disappointment, or even a display of weaknesses in our own abilities? Disappointment plays a huge role in restricting our conscious from saying no.
We hate to feel uncomfortable and to let others down. So, instead we take the easy way out and just say yes! The real trick to saying no, is by saying yes. We will give you three ways to overcome your intuitive desire to say yes.
1. Saying ‘No’ to the task, but ‘Yes’ to the person
So what do you do when your colleague is failing to meet a deadline and asks for extra help? Instead of saying your usual ‘yes’, we can say no to the task, but yes to the person. To do this, you should examine the context of the situation. Is there another colleague who can help, or is there a solution that you can suggest without actually performing the task? Often we can overcome the emotion of disappointment and let down by helping out, even if it was just through a small suggestion.
- Let the person understand your reason behind the ‘No’.
- Be open and honest.
- Reinstate that you would really like to help but you can’t for a few reasons.
Open communication and the development of trust is essential to the process. By nurturing an environment of trust, the person asking for help is less likely to feel let down or become defensive.
2. Break the habit
If you are someone who automatically says yes, you must break that habit! To begin, change your response to “Let me think about it”. By delaying your answer, you are capable of making a rational decision, not under pressure but in your own time.
So what do you do if the decision of the rational thinking is a no? A great solution is to create a projected solution to help solve the person’s problem “I cannot help you at this time but I am happy to introduce you to somebody that can”. By offering to help, even in a smaller portion you can say ‘no’ to the task, but ‘yes’ to the person.
3. Non-negotiable task
There will always be tasks that you cannot say no to regardless. Non-negotiable tasks are often tasks delegated to you by your boss. If you believe that taking on the extra task is not achievable, schedule a meeting with your supervisor to review your workload and determine whether it is manageable.
Depending on the context of the situation, you may negotiate a lower standard of output, restructure of priorities or a deadline extension. It is important to remember, all negotiations require evidence. Always go into the meeting prepared and be willing to communicate your concerns to develop an efficient solution.
By viewing negotiations as an opportunity to collaborate, you are still saying yes to the person through a portrayal of respect for their needs while saying no to the task.