You have to learn to say no

In some cases, a clear “no” to colleagues, customers, or bosses is appropriate. But how do you say it without annoying the other person?

You are behind in your own projects. You are not spending enough time with your family and friends. And then along comes your boss with more, urgent tasks. You just have to say “no.”

But saying no to your boss can be difficult. It can be easy to give the impression that you are uncooperative or even lazy. But in many cases, saying no is actually the opposite of that: saying “no” at the right moment means that you are taking responsibility for your own projects and your own health. Because, if you saddle yourself with too much work, it can soon affect the results. Those affected end up in a vicious circle of stress, reduced efficiency, and unsatisfactory quality which quite often ends up in burnout.

“No” in the interest of your employer
In other words, if you distance yourself, you are preventing the company from suffering damage. You should definitely not have a guilty conscience. This thought helps you make your argument. “I’m fully stretched. If I take on more work, I need relief somewhere else. Otherwise, I would definitely not be able to meet the deadline in the X project for our important customer.”

If you combine saying “no” with alternative solution approaches and suggest that you will be able to help out at a later date, you may even be able to earn some Brownie points at that time. This applies when dealing with superiors and customers. It is possible that when the situation has been clarified the latter understand that they have to pay for the extra work or compensate it in some other form.

It’s easier to say “no” to colleagues. A short time for consideration helps clarify the motives of the person who is asking for the favor. If the issue is driven by selfinterest, a short, clear no is sufficient. However, if coworkers really need help, but you just don’t have the time, constructive measures are needed. Who else can help? Is the issue very urgent or can it wait? Or can your colleague already start and come back when he has specific questions? This reduces the time needed to provide assistance, increases the learning effect, and everyone gets ahead with their work.

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