How saying ‘NO’ at Work can be Good for Everyone {Infographic}

There are many valid reasons why you may struggle to say ‘no’ at work: you’re ambitious, you want to make a good impression, you want to play your part. There are also plenty of bad ones – for example, if you fear your job may be threatened if you don’t do everything that’s asked of you. But worker and employer alike can benefit from a more open dialogue around the issue of workload. Simply put, if you take on more work than you can handle, you will do it to a lower quality – which impacts on your reputation, and that of your employer.

So most of us know that we should be able to turn down the occasional request, but that doesn’t make it any easier to do so. Indeed, plunge right into to the self-assertion zone, and you could end up doing more damage than good. Of course, bosses don’t like to be told the ‘n’-word, and colleagues don’t like you shifting your work to them. That is why it is important to be transparent, honest and reasonable when discussing your workload with others.

First, you need to identify the source of the issue for yourself. If somebody makes a request that you instinctively feel is unachievable, ask yourself some clear questions: do you have enough time to get it done? Will your other work suffer if you do? Are you the best person for the task? If any of these answers point towards turning it down, then you probably need to do so.

The first rule of saying ‘no’ is to do it in person where possible. Email and even phone conversations can be too ambiguous if you are talking over a contentious issue. In person, your tone and body language – and even the fact that you have arranged to meet face-to-face – should give voice to your good intentions.

Don’t forget to express your gratitude at being considered for the task, but do your best to offer rational reasons for declining – and help with solutions if you can. For example, if you know someone better suited for the work, say so; and if you’re struggling with your schedule, arrange a meeting to look into better ways of organizing your day.

A new infographic from The Business Backer provides the perfect road map for identifying and responding to ‘no’ situations at work. Next time you feel you’re being asked too much, think twice before you plough on. You needn’t feel guilty when an honest answer is what’s best for the business.

Editorial Team
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