When to Say "No" at Work

When striving to be the perfect employee you might not think to have the word “no” in your vocabulary. After all who wants to say no to their boss or coworker? You really want to give the impression that you can take on anything thrown your way, but you don’t want to be a “yes” man either. It’s all about finding a balance since saying “yes” to everything runs the risk of your quality of work to suffer if you are stretched too thin. You have your own work so when someone tries to add something to your already full plate, it’s best to say “no”. That’s not always the easiest thing to do. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to say “no” at work keep these tips in mind.

  1. When to say “no”

Be honest – if you can’t take on more, then you just can’t. No matter how much your coworker begs you for help or your boss needs keeps throwing projects your way it’s best to be honest. If you don’t have the time and are busy with your own work you have to let them know that your hands are tied and can’t take on more at this time instead of saying “yes” to the task.

  1. How to say “no”

Be polite but direct. It’s hard to say “no” at work. You don’t want to be rude and rub someone the wrong way. Be respectful and sincere, but most importantly direct. Try something like, “I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m currently working with this client and won’t have enough time to give that task my full attention.” When you apologize be sincere so coworkers know you want to be helpful but just can’t this time.

  1. If you can help

Be a team player. You may not have the time to do everything that was asked of you, but if you can spare a little time offer to read a rough draft or make edits to the task after your coworker works on it. You’ll show that you are still willing to help even if you can’t completely take the task off their hands.

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