The Joy of Saying No

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When coaching teams, I find that managers with Responsibility can often enable a teammate to produce low quality work and perform at minimal capacity. In simpler terms, the manager has a slack employee and is enabling his “slackness.” The talent of Responsibility is an owner at heart: ethical, hardworking, and often concerned with the respect of her team and boss. The raw part of this talent may take over the project and finish the tasks, but they can become resentful – resentful that the employee or teammate isn’t pulling their weight, of having too much on their plate, or for late nights when everyone else leaves at 5:00.

Moving an individual from the basement of a talent into the balcony could mean teaching the power of “No.” Until we learn to say “no,” we contribute to being overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time to do it. Have you ever noticed that it is the important things that are impacted with our inability to refuse more work? Quality time with family, stress management, and our health get neglected. When a teammate or manager consistently saves a slack employee, they are not allowing that person to grow and be developed.

There is a certain level of guilt when we say “no.” Congratulations! This guilty feeling is a sign that you are growing and making positive changes in your life. As you learn to draw boundaries, you become more welcoming of other people’s boundaries as well.

When is it OK to say NO?

  • When you are stressed or overwhelmed
  • When you are already doing too much
  • When you are exhausted or sick

And remember, you always have a right to say NO when:

  • It’s someone else’s issue
  • You feel taken for granted
  • It doesn’t line up with your priorities
  • It takes away from your values
  • You deserve or need some time to yourself

Remember that “no” doesn’t mean “no forever.” Sometimes you just need time or circumstances to be right. Sometimes “no” is “not now” and sometimes it is “never,” but regardless, tell the truth and stay firm. Your family, health, and stress level are counting on you.