Body Language / Careers and Work / Communication / Influence / Managing Stress / Relationships

Learning How to Say No

You want to be helpful at work. People come up to you and ask for your help all the time. Your boss gives you tasks because she knows you’ll get the work done on time. Your colleagues hit you up because you are one of the most knowledgeable people. The trouble is, you have a difficult time getting your work done. When this happens, you need to learn how to say no.

There are ways to say no that won’t make you seem like the bad person. One great way to do this is to let people know you have other tasks and that you can get to their tasks after you complete yours.

It’s fine to help people out, but you should avoid doing their jobs for them. If someone asks you to do something simply because they don’t feel like doing it, you need to stand firm in telling them this is unacceptable. You should first ask why they can’t get to it. Perhaps someone else has given them more tasks to do. You need to show them how to say no to those other people.

Some people are simply slackers. They try to pass off all their work to other people. When you find one of these people, confront them. If you do this early on, they will lose the control. You will also show your other colleagues that you won’t let the slacker have control, and they should follow suit.

You’ll have a tougher time telling your boss no. She’s the boss after all. However, you do need to let her know that your plate is full and try to compromise. See if you can get a priority of the extra tasks your boss is piling on. Also, if others on the team are currently freed up from their tasks, see if they would be willing to take on those extra duties.

It’s important never to get angry when others approach you with more work. Smile and find out why they are hitting you up for the extra work. It could be they are not aware of your schedule. You can produce your to-do list if this is the case. By staying calm, you keep the control in your corner. If you blow up at people, they are going to consider you volatile which makes it difficult for them to compromise with you. It’s rarely a situation in which you will come up the winner. It is okay to be firm with people when you discover they are simply trying to pass work off to you.

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