How to Say No At Work

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2 Minute Read
Posted by Karyn Moyer

Many people have a hard time saying “no” to a request – especially if the request comes from their boss or co-worker. Many times, people will say “yes” to a request and regret it later.

Employees don’t want to say “no” for two reasons: a fear of conflict and a fear of disappointment. Employees don’t want to create a conflict by refusing a request. Employees also don’t want to disappoint their boss or co-workers by refusing a request. Together, these factors influence employees into saying “yes” when the real answer should be “no”.

You don’t always have to say “yes” to every task. There are circumstances when saying “no” is appropriate. If the request seems amiss, it probably is. Here are more circumstances when saying “no” is appropriate:

  • You don’t have the time.
  • You don’t have the necessary skills.
  • The task could be better accomplished by someone else.
  • Your other work-related responsibilities are hindered.

Saying “no” is reasonable. But how do you say it? Here are some tips on how to say “no”.

  • Practice saying it out loud. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel actually saying it.
  • Don’t be harsh. Harshness can prevent someone from giving you a project in the future.
  • Don’t be hesitant. Hesitancy shows that you’re unsure. You might get the additional work, even if you didn’t want it.
  • If you can, give the reason why. Explain to your boss or co-worker why you can’t take on the extra work and suggest someone else who might be able to help.

Remember, saying “no” is reasonable. You don’t have to agree to every extra task. There are times when saying “no” is appropriate, and practicing helps you feel more comfortable when you need to say “no”.

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The Muse
Psychology Today

Learn how to say no at work for increased productivity and work-life balance!
Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer is the Senior Marketing Manager at AgHires. Karyn enjoys learning and discovering new ways to help job seekers and clients to reach their goals. AgHires helps agricultural and food production companies find the employees they need to run a successful business.