Learning to say NO is a good thing

Overwhelmed? Overstressed? In over your head?

overworkedToo many people take on too much workload because they feel they can’t say NO. They feel they don’t have they authority, right, position, or intestinal fortitude to turn down projects, tasks, or invitations when they probably should. The problem is that if you don’t learn how to say NO, you may cause yourself to become physically sick or at least sick of your job.

There are two sides to this story, however. It’s easy to look at this situation from the employee’s side saying that they are not strong enough to say NO. The other end is also management’s leadership skills. Some managers bully employees into taking on too much, while other may oblivious to how much they demand. Both the employee and the manager need to learn some polite, professional, and firm communication skills to survive in a world full of deadlines and demands.

I found a good article with some great advice and encourage you to read it at – http://www.management-issues.com/opinion/6391/plate-overflowing-learn-how-to-say-no/

Some points it missed are very subtle. If you, as an employee, don’t learn to say NO and assert yourself, in a professional manner, you will never be taken seriously or considered for a management role, if upward movement is what you desire.  Learning to say NO shows control over your schedule, an understanding of your realistic limitations, and confidence – all of which are important management skills.

Let’s flip this around. As a manager, overwhelming your employees creates problems and reduces morale. It helps to learn some basic coaching skills and questioning process, such as:

  • We have an important project that needs to be completed quickly. Are you able to get this done by (date)?
  • Is there anything else that can moved or postponed to make this happen?
  • What support do you need to make this happen by deadline?
  • Can I expect that if anything changes you will let me know ASAP?
  • I will need regular communication on the progress of this project. How often can I expect updates so I can pass it along to the right parties?

Using questions such as these brings the employee on-board with the team and creates personal accountability. Threats and demands removes them from the decision making process and does not create a sense of ownership in the process.

If you found value in this article, please pass it along.

If you would like to learn more about leadership skills, let’s talk. Leadership skills work just as well in the home as they do in the office, btw. If you struggle with children who don’t behave as well as you would like them to, give me a call. I have 6 kids and they have taught me much about leadership at home.


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