Just say no

Here are three ways to do it

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Maybe you’re the type of person who always tries to help teammates out. Or perhaps, in your quest to move up the ladder, you take on every project offered to you. Well, sometimes you just can’t help everyone or do everything. Sometimes, you just have to say “no.”

As you develop the ability to turn down unreasonable requests, you’ll see a rise in your self-confidence and a drop in your stress levels. Lisa Davis, author of Shortcuts for Smart Managers: Checklists, Worksheets, and Action Plans for Managers With No Time to Waste, offers three ways to say no-and mean it:

  • Say no and offer a reason. For example, “I can’t help you because I’m completing another project.”
  • Say no and offer an alternative. For instance, “I won’t be available at 9:30 a.m. However, I will be able to meet with you at noon.”
  • Say no and repeat it. Try, for example, “No, I can’t change my deadline.” Follow with, “I understand that this may conflict with your schedule, but I still have to say no because my deadline is already set.” And end with, “I’m listening to what you’re saying. But since my deadline is set, my answer is still no.”