Saying “yes”….it’s sort of become something we do all day long, emails, questions, last minute meetings, projects, deadlines, the list goes on and on.
Understandably, we sometimes just don’t have a choice about new tasks at the last minute, although there are other times, even when our schedule is jammed packed, it just seems easier not to upset anyone that depends on us and so we say “yes”.
What we need to realize is that, saying “yes” too often has its adverse effects as well. As we shift our own schedules and take on more work to help a colleague out, our work can take a back seat and really suffer.
Being an ultimate team player can leave you feeling…where did your day go?
There are ways to break this cycle and maintain your work relationships. You can establish clear boundaries that will help you be more productive and if you do say yes to an unexpected project you will be able to give it your fullest attention.
- Keep YOUR goals in mind: What are your overall goals? You need to decide if the project you are being asked to take on will consume most of your time and for how long. Also, how that project will work with your own timeline and objectives.
- Make sure you listen to the request: Always give your colleague the respect to hear them out even if you know right away that your schedule won’t allow you to take on another assignment.
- Don’t make someone wait for an answer: Once you’ve made up your mind as to whether you’ll be able to take on the new task, don’t feel guilty, but you must let them know right away. Communicating with the other person in a timely fashion, gives them clarification and time to find a resolution.
- You’ll need to answer “why”: When you tell a co-worker “no” you must also give them a clear explanation so they understand your intentions.
- Practice this routine consistently: If you repeat this behavior on a regular basis, you will probably feel uncomfortable at first, but in the end it will create some beneficial parameters that you can look back on and know that you didn’t overcommit yourself and were able to concentrate on your duties at hand.
One last word of advice…once you’ve said “no” to your coworker you are more likely to say “yes” the next time when it’s from the same person. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that this is necessary. Remember, everything must line up with your goals.
If you’ve always been one that has jumped through hoops to meet everyone’s requests, it maybe your colleagues that have a hard time with you saying “no”.
Saying yes to too many things, you might be compromising your health, happiness, or relationships. Eventually, practicing these habits time after time will make more people will be happy….including you!
How do you manage saying “no” to co-workers?
Dave Baney is the founder and CEO of 55 Questions, LLC. We work with successful top executives with a driving ambition to crush their competition. We help CEOs and Entrepreneurs improve alignment, communication and accountability throughout their organization. www.55Questions.com
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