Right way of saying ‘NO’ at work

Sometimes people feel guilty about saying no to a request. But if you are taking on tasks you can’t handle just to appease your guilt, you are actually not helping anyone. If you don’t have the time to do something, say no and try your best not to feel bad about it.

Saying ‘no’ is every person’s prerogative, and it need not seem harsh or unkind, if said in the right way and on the right time. When one is in the middle of several projects or when he is not comfortable with a particular job/task, it is advisable to say no rather than do a mediocre job.

Other times when no is said can be for personal reasons, when family or personal life is affected and when one has to compromise on integrity and honesty.

However there are times we say no because of wrong reasons like personal beliefs and biases regarding the persons involved. If a person says yes when he needs to say no, then he is setting a precedent for future and chances are he will be taken for granted. People also perceive him as a person who is low in self–confidence and self image.

Another tangible affect of saying a forced yes is that you may not be able to complete a task, which may adversely affect your increment, as tasks not completed may appear in your KRAs.

A person saying no to his superior makes him realize his limitations and unrealistic expectations aren’t fostered. Saying ‘no’ with a relevant reason also implies maturity that an employee would have in realizing his/her limitations.

Saying yes too often will lead an employee into common trap of saying yes to the good while simultaneously saying no to the best. If he says yes all the time people become dependent on him to do everything which will hamper his own productivity since mundane tasks will be assigned to him when they could be delegated to others of lesser skills. Also, any person cannot be a one-man army. He should always focus to be business leader and learn to delegate, that means at times say no to unimportant tasks. Besides, overload kills. People who say no the right way, by being assertive are respected and acknowledged for being self assured and confident. In the long run they earn credibility and respect for themselves.

Saying no at work is always a challenge, which to start with becomes easier when you are clear about your personal goals, role, responsibilities and priorities therein as set by the organization.

Saying yes or no can be under the following conditions

* Tell them yes, but take control by saying you’ll come back to them with a timetable. For instance, say, “I expect I’ll be able to do that for you by the end of the week.�
* Put a tough condition on your agreement. “If it would only take an hour, I’d be able to help. But I can’t give you more than that.�
* Say you would be willing to give it a though and get back to the boss with a confirmation on taking on the new task.
* Refuse mentioning the pending tasks already on hand.
* Explain to your boss that you don’t have the necessary skills to complete this assignment
* Be polite but firm. If you can, use humor to diffuse the tension out of the situation.
* Saying no is a required skill if you wish to have any degree of focus in your life

  • nesma

    saying no will avoid us to carry more tasks that we can not do but how i will say no to my direct boss can you advice me

  • Jaigopal Tiwari

    Saying simple ” NO” to the boss is not ethical, but if reply”NO” is with stating reasons of NO shall be appealing. In fact saying NO straightway may be because of his reluctant attitude, irritation, psychology stunt etc., which requires evaluation of (1) prevailing environment (2) Stress and (3) attitude of exibiting of such behaviour.

    Jaigopal Tiwari