Saying No at Work

You know you need to say no to some things. I have an idea about what might be holding you back.

Every day, people want your time, energy, money, expertise… you name it, someone wants it. And as hard as you’ve worked to build your capacity, you know you have a limit. No one has unlimited resources.

Let me ask you this: Why don’t you say no more often?

At work, if a colleague, client, subordinate or the person you report to comes to you for something, what do you do?

Do you take a beat and give yourself a chance to say no? Or do you instantly start to problem-solve?

Lots of high performers blow past their chance to say no in their rush to put out a fire. They’ll say they aren’t in a position to say no, either because of who asked, or the urgency of their work, or because they are the only person who… you fill in the blank that fits for you.

The truth is, you have the right and responsibility to say no to your colleagues, clients, subordinates, and superiors if that’s what needs to happen.

Saying no is how you protect what’s important.

C-Suite readers, this is especially critical for you because your board pays you to protect and grow the company. To do that, you need to:

  • ​protect your personal capacity
  • maintain focus on strategic issues
  • and model effective leadership.

In other words – you need to be especially comfortable saying no to people. What’s more, you can’t jump in to rescue the senior staff who aren’t able to say no. If you do, they train their managers to bail their people out. Everyone is weaker for it.

Listen, there’s no shortage of opportunities for you to say yes to people. Trust me. You’ve got mail. It’s up to you to see the opportunities to say no so that you can protect capacity for the things that matter and deliver real value.

Coming soon: Top 3 Things High Performers Need to Know About Saying No

What do you need to know about saying no to people at work?

I’m working on an article called Top 3 Things High Performers Need to Know About Saying No. And if there’s interest, I might follow it up with: How to Say No the Right Way.

When you think about what really stopped you from saying no to something or someone this week, or what you think would need to change for you to be more comfortable saying no to people, is there a shift that you think I could help you with? Drop me a line if you have an angle you’d like me to address in the article, or if you want to discuss my consulting and coaching services. Either way, I’m curious to hear what you need to know about saying no. Cheers!

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Category: Homepage, Manage your People, Managing high performers, The Leader's Toolkit

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