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Stop Saying Yes to Everything: How to Say No at Work

“No” can be a complete sentence sometimes. Especially when the tone is ideally set. Most of us have hard times saying no to people we work together at work. Our boss, colleagues, and even our clients push our limits to make us accept something we want not to. At those times, we need to take a step back and measure what would happen if we said yes and if we say no. Bottom line, saying no at work can be challenging but a must at the same time. This blog post makes you understand how to say no at work politely and effectively. Reading further, you will see a list of manners you should have while rejecting a proposal.

  • Find out the reason behind the request
  • Consider your priorities
  • Just say it
  • Put for your no on valid grounds
  • Come up with an alternative

Find Out for the Reason Behind the Request

Learning how to say no at work without feeling guilty is quite important for your own performance and mental health in the working environment. That’s why you’d better know what to do before rejecting someone. First things first, you need to find out the reason behind the request. Ask the demander why they want that from you, the deadline, what’s in it for you, and what exactly your part is. Based on the answers to those questions, you can sanely make a decision about saying yes or no. Also, this attitude is important to see if the proposal is beneficial for you or not, as it makes room for measuring the consequences.

Consider Your Priorities

Saying no at work also means to put your priorities first. As everyone has a lot on their plate, prioritizing the workload on your shoulders doesn’t sound selfish or bad. Actually, it is needed. Keeping track of your priorities lets you know how much extra work you can have (or if you can have) beside yours. If you think you will be overwhelmed when you step up a gear, then do not have a second thought to say no. Because when you know how to say no at work politely, everybody will surely understand the reason behind your attitude. This is also important for the demander to comprehend why you’re saying no at that time and that you are not lazy or unwilling.

Just Say It

Being straightforward while saying no is powerful. People should see that you are assertive about your priorities and have a clear idea about your limits or workload. Knowing when to say no at work also gives you the strength in the sense of limiting frustration. Don’t forget to say steady and calm while doing so.

Put Your No on Valid Grounds

Offering solid excuses is a part of learning to say no at work. Because people want to hear the reality, and they know it when they see it. That’s why to avoid being labeled as uncooperative, unhelpful, or aggressor, you need to make sure you have a truly valid reason behind saying no.

Come Up with an Alternative

Try enacting the art of saying no at work by providing an alternative. This is the simplest way to say no, mostly. Does your colleague want you to help him on a project for a specific day and time and you are not fit for it? Then see if another period works for both of you. Or let’s say that your manager asks you to help him with several tasks. Along with providing an alternative, you might also put the question back on the demander. For example, you might say that you are OK with some tasks. However, it would help if you had more time to do that. Ask the person their opinion about prioritizing the task according to that timeframe.

Benefits of Saying No at Work

Though most of us tend to think that saying yes is a good thing, that’s not always the case. Knowing to say no can make you feel good, contrary to what is believed. Here are some benefits of saying no at work.

  • It empowers you: Many people have to attend events, meetings, or be involved in a situation they don’t want to just because they cannot say no. But before choosing to be a people-pleaser, we need to put ourselves first and say no when needed.
  • Makes you look honest: Unlike the majority of the people at work, your saying no makes you look honest about your feelings. Your colleagues and managers will definitely know that you speak up if you cannot accept a decision or be a part of a project.
  • No means yes for other things: Remember that you actually mean to say yes to other things every time you say no to something. This is valid for the people who cannot say “No” most of the time. When you do not want to turn someone down but do not want to be unhappy at the same time, try saying yes to an alternative decision.

Alternatives to Saying No at Work

  • Sorry, I already have a lot on my plate. I hope you understand.
  • Now isn’t a good time for me. I’ll let you know if my schedule fits in.
  • How about you try it on your own first, then I can help you?
  • No, sorry. I need to prioritize my tasks right now.
  • No, thank you. I would appreciate it if you accepted my choice.

It would be great to conclude with a fantastic saying from Paulo Coelho: “When saying “Yes” to others, make sure you are not saying “No” to yourself.”