Scale Up By Saying No
All of us are fielding formal or informal, small or big requests everyday. Those messages on slacks, emails and zoom calls with requests never stop!
Cross-functional and collaborative forms of work have definitely made work environments more complex. These requests can come from anywhere- be it top down, peers, directs or other internal stakeholders.
Add to this the inflow of requests from family, friends, acquaintances and also complete strangers. This can be daunting to say the least. While many of these requests could mean an opportunity to learn and grow, many times they do not align with your priorities and goals.
In this scenario a thoughtful no can protect you and help you align with your north star.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you have to say no in a professional setting-
Understand Why You’re Saying No: The first step to saying no is to assess the ask and understand the reason why it can’t be accepted. This would help you to not make no as your default response. Our brains are programmed to hear 'yes' for the idea, but ‘no’ for the person. As leaders we need to ensure that the right reasons are communicated clearly while rejecting an idea. One way of doing this could be to align your no with the company’s north star or goals. This helps to explain the reasons better and prioritizes what’s important and what’s not.
No vs Not Right Now: Sometimes saying ‘not right now’ instead of a ‘no’ is the right way of managing a situation. It makes you sound less dismissive and encourages your team to be open about sharing their ideas with you. This is really important for ideas that are good, but not suitable at that time. Engage with the idea thoroughly and assess if it makes sense to come back to it on a later date. So a ‘not at the moment’ approach is sometimes better than a ‘never’ approach.
Don’t Say No If You Have to Say Yes Later: Be logical while saying no. Don’t reject an idea just for the sake of it. A no has to be thoughtful. Saying yes later makes you lose your credibility.
Scale Up By Saying No, Sometimes
It is important to say no sometimes. Especially because saying yes to everything can lead to burnout. Saying no in the beginning is very hard as we want to come across as collaborative teammates. We also fear the repercussions of saying a no, especially if the person happens to be more senior in the company. However, when a no is communicated in the right manner, it is an opportunity for a yes that adds more value.
How do you say a no?
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