By Ashley Snodgrass
When you Google search “How to say no at work” you’ll find 2.5 billion results.
These are articles packed with “How To’s”, “Don’t Do’s”, and all the “best kept secrets of getting ahead in the workplace”. Logic tells us that the more results you get for a search, the more popular a topic would be. To put 2.5 billion results in perspective, when you google Ariana Grande, she only has 330 million Google Search results. Kim Kardashian has 292 million Google Search results. Elvis has a mere 144 million Google results.
Trying to figure out how to say “No” at work is more popular than Kim, Ariana, and Elvis combined. In a competitive workplace, it may feel impossible to say “no” when asked to tackle a project because you want to stand out or be seen as a team player by your colleagues. Always saying “yes” is one trait that may help you get promoted… or burnt out.
However, saying “No” to a project or additional work in certain situations can be more beneficial overall to the team than if you had said “yes” and failed to complete the project, or didn’t complete the work well.
Here are a few suggestions on when you should be saying “no” to additional work (taken from this Forbes article)
- It hinders your ability to accomplish your responsibilities
- It doesn’t align with your long-term and short-term priorities
- You disagree with the decision
- It doesn’t accomplish a key goal
- It conflicts with your values or you can’t deliver results
Now for the “How”… I recommend this article, which includes the below tips on how to diplomatically say “no” when it is the best option for you and your team’s goals:
1. Have a list of responses ready
2. Prepare a simple explanation if it’s needed
3. If you can’t say “no” flat out, negotiate
4. End the conversation on a confident note
As Suzy Welch says, “save your ‘yes’ replies for “tasks that really count”!