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Sep 20, 201812:26 PMLeader to Leader

with Terry Siebert

Saying ‘NO’ can make good sense for good sanity

(page 1 of 2)

I was going to title this blog, “The fine art of saying NO.” Before I did, I went online and saw that this headline had already been done several times. Apparently, it’s a worthy subject.

The reason it even occurred to me in the first place was it strongly came through in a recent training session where several people had this as a major issue. It seems that there are many reasons for always saying yes to a request:

  • You want to come across as someone who is always there, ready to help;
  • You do not want to offend the other person;
  • You are really nice and absolutely do not want to appear to be the opposite;
  • By saying yes, you indicate that you always have room on your plate to help others. You are a team player; and
  • Your boss indicated that you had better do this or else.

This list could go on and on.

However, there is a dark downside to always acquiescing to the never-ending requests of your time and talents. First, like a couple of people in my training session, all of your projects start to falter, including the ones that are clearly your responsibility. By taking on too much, you find that your project grade is almost always coming up “incomplete.” You wake up every day, further behind than where you were the day before. You start to lose sleep and, just maybe, feel like you’re also losing your sanity. The further you go, the further behind you get.

So the question is: What to do? You don’t want to say NO for the reasons listed above. However, for the sake of good sense and your own sanity, you better find a way to do it.

The first thing that needs to be addressed in this regard is whether the request is even in your range of capabilities. If it is clearly not, then you can tell the person they might be better asking someone more qualified. You might even refer them to a specific individual. Obviously, do this in tone and words that are not defensive or offensive.

(Continued)

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Known for his Dale Carnegie training expertise, Terry Siebert is writing to inspire leaders to reach their greatest potential. Leadership, today more than ever, may mean the difference between closing the doors or opening new markets. Every month, he'll post help with mindset, business tools and more.

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