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Getting Pushed Around at Work? Learn to Say “No”

Saying no
Is rocking the boat punishable by walking the plank.

Smart people always have something to say. But sadly, in today’s corporate world, speaking out can be viewed as insubordination. So much for a free country, huh? Ever met one of those “I’m THE boss” jerks who’d just push you around?

So Mr. or Ms. Smart would now think in terms of job stability and office politics and just keep their mouths shut. Well not all companies have toxic bosses, but a real problem of most employees is taking on more work even if it they’re already overloaded.

Ever been asked to work late? But then again, you’ve got promises of an early dinner with the family or a movie with your mate. Remember, always saying “Yes” can frustrate you with its consequences. You can avoid these and enjoy your work and this starts by learning to saying “No.” You’ll soon find that doing so increases you productivity because you can focus more and work with less pressure.

Here’s some pointers in saying “No.”

  • Think first

    Ask yourself these questions. Is the task reasonable or not? Am I overloaded? Is it in conflict with my schedule. How critical is it to the whole project? Is this an opportunity or something that I could pass on?

  • Watch out for the “trap”

    Some of these tasks may even be labeled urgent even if they’re not really top priority for a particular project. Take time to discuss the merits of this new task and what benefits or drawbacks it might pose when assigned to you.

    Some managers might even use the line “But you’re the best guy in our team to get this done.” Cool. Maybe it’s true, or half-true or not at all. He/she might just be passing on his work to you. This is quite tricky but you could probably benefit from observing body language. Just don’t mindlessly blurt out, “Shut your BS, I know you’re lying!” Take it as an opportunity for you to observe your peers and get to know their ways of working. Remember that office relations is one thing that you should also manage.

  • Use a calm tone

    You might be frustrated or even angered by this sudden assignment but you should not out for a blood. The last thing you’d need is for raised voices to spark a larger argument.

  • Use well-grounded reasons

    Provide sound ideas to back up your refusal. Saying “No” with a reason like “I don’t feel like it” is a such a lame excuse.

    If you’re really pressed to do it and it’s non-negotiable, don’t fret you still have an option – provide your own timeline. Instead of saying “Okay, I’ll just work overtime, and I’d have it done by tomorrow,” try “I am currently working on (cite your current tasks and show your schedule), but I can fit this in and get it done by next week (or some other date that’s reasonable for your schedule).”

    Showing them your current workload and schedule often works while at the same time it gives the impression that you’re an organized “on-top-of-things” kind of guy.

Remember, you are not a doormat but there’s always a way to manage things professionally. This way, you could get your way and stay on top of things. Avoiding workload stress helps in your overall disposition as a productive worker. And most of the time, all it takes is saying “No.”


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