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, with over 13 years of marketing experience, over 9 of which she has spent in the agriculture marketing industry. Growing up in a small farming town, Karyn has a deep appreciation for the importance of agriculture and its role in our communities. Since joining AgHires in 2017, Karyn has used her wealth of experience and knowledge to help job seekers and clients achieve their goals. She has a passion for learning and discovering new ways to support the industry.