'The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.’
Most of us would agree that generally, it’s easier to say yes and harder to say no. And not just in the workplace. It also includes relationships, social commitments, parenting – not to mention all those times we’ve ended up the proud owner of something that, if we’re honest, was not really the result of a cracker sales person but our complete inability to say no…(commonly leading to Buyers Remorse).
It’s human nature to want to please. Which is why so often we say yes, when really for everyone’s sake, we should say no. In agreeing to all the additional requests in our day, we put other people’s priorities ahead of our own, often turning ourselves inside out get there. How many times have you ended a long day thinking ‘I’ve been so busy, but I didn’t do anything’?
The reality is, we say more about ourselves by what we say no to than what we say yes to.
What are your priorities? What are your roles and goals in your job? If you’re not clear, sit down with the appropriate person and get it clear. If you don’t know what they are, how can you link your performance and achievements to what you’re supposed to be doing? How can you measure your success?
Check in with yourself – how will that ‘yes’ you just committed to map to your roles and goals? Will it help you get that promotion, pay rise or bonus? Remember what the no is making room for.
‘It’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.’
If you struggle with saying no, here are some pain-relievers to help develop the art…
Reframe the no. Think of it more as setting firm boundaries.
Say yes on your terms. ‘Can you help me with this?’ ‘Yes, I’d really like to help you with that and I have time next Wednesday afternoon.’ Done!
Redirect. It’s ok to direct the request to someone who can help more efficiently. ‘The best way I can help you with that is by connecting you with someone who could best help you solve this problem.’
If you can action just one of the points above, you’re already on your way to being mindful of your roles and goals. Try it and see.