At work, everyone should learn to say “no”, but most of us find it easier to say yes to people, even when we don’t feel the willingness to do what they asked. We do this because we think that we have to or to be nice, or because we don’t have the heart to turn them down. Sometimes it’s even because we think that we don’t have the right to refuse certain requests due to our lack of knowledge of our rights vs. our duties, what’s necessary and doable vs. what’s not.
We fall into this gap over and over fearing that we’re going to lose our job. We tell ourselves that it’s ok, and this is the last time we overwork ourselves or do something that we’re not sure if it’s even part of our job duties or not.
In this case, we shouldn’t forget to consider OUR comfort, what WE want, can, and are able to do. We shouldn’t be fixated on what others want us to do, it’s important to know when and how to push back.
When to Say No
Think of every time you felt the urge to say it when you were feeling overwhelmed, pressured, or unsure of whether something is part of your tasks or not. When your superior asks for a senseless request, sets unreasonable deadlines, it may be an indication that something is off.
Why Saying No at Work is Important
We say no to establish boundaries. We say no when we’re asked to do ineffective tasks or to handle something that isn’t part of work responsibilities.
How to Say No
When you finally take the step to say no out loud, you need to know exactly how to say it. Here are a few points to consider:
It’s important to explain yourself and why you’re not going to work like that. Be quick and honest, not to jeopardize maintaining healthy relationships in the workplace. Try to explain your perspective briefly & give them logical reasoning for why what they’re asking is “off rail”.
Don’t be hesitant and do your best not to stutter on your words. Try not to say things like: “hmm”, “ooh”, “ok”, “I’ll see”, “maybe later”, or “yes”. This is only going to complicate things more, be quick and honest.
You Won’t Come Off as Rude
Now, as you’re trying to stay polite and nice, show the other person that it’s not personal. You are just not okay with carrying on with this specific task or request for the reasons you explained previously.
The First Time is the Hardest
Be brave and gather up your courage. Remind yourself that you’re in the right with this, say what you want to say, there is always a first time for everything. Don’t be afraid, try to stay as smooth as you can, and I guarantee you, it most likely won’t get back to you with any negative reaction.
Learn How to Respond to People’s Reactions
After spilling out your guts, expect to hear various responses from others based on their personalities, status in work, or even their mood. The most important thing here is knowing how to respond to their reactions. Stand your ground, don’t let anyone shake your stand or offend you with their words.
Tone is Everything
Your tone is the most important part in this, by choosing your words wisely, and paying attention to use the proper tone, you’re most likely good to go.
In the end, whether it’s your personal or work life, you’re the one who’s responsible for what happens in your life. Be assertive, and don’t allow anyone to take advantage of your kindness or drive.