While it would be uncomfortable for many of us to say NO to our managers or coworkers, sometimes it is the best thing we can do. It's essential to say no when we don't feel comfortable with an assignment, if we don't have enough time to deliver a task, or if any action (or decision) transgresses our principles.
While it may be challenging, learning to say no at work is not only acceptable but necessary. It’s important to understand when and how to say no before we start feeling overwhelmed by all the work we should have denied or postponed.
Politely refusing to accept any task or situation might make you feel bad at first, but it would help you maintain your self-confidence and self-esteem over a long period while respecting your boundaries and strengthening your credibility.
It Is Important to Know How to Say No
“When you say no, you are only saying no to one option. When you say yes, you are saying no to every other option. No is a decision. Yes, it is a responsibility.” – Rebecca Knight.
Knowing how to say no is crucial as it can save our relationships and strengthen the trust and respect within our work relationships. The importance of saying no is that we can choose with free consent where to put our energy and resources, as it is directly associated with our performance and mental well-being.
Recent research suggests that struggling to say no in the workplace can increase the risk of burnout, stress, and even depression. And while we may believe that saying yes would help us advance in our careers, this has nothing to do with the truth.
Avoiding saying no might harm our physical and emotional well-being, as well as, our job performance. We need to understand that accepting extra chores consumes time, energy, and resources.
Why Do We Feel So Uncomfortable Saying No?
Most of us are ethically tied to our relationships, and (sometimes) to keep those working affinities, we could perceive that it’s wrong to deny someone’s requests. We might construct, out of fear, a hypothetical story in our mind concerning what the other person will think about us if we say no to a request.
Sometimes, people believe that saying no will damage their relationships and bonds. To fit in and be accepted by our peers, coworkers, or friends, we can worry that saying no may cause rejection. Also, the desire to avoid confrontation contributes to the fear of saying no. And in other cases, we can find ourselves hesitant to say it because we don’t want to disappoint others or hurt their feelings.
Learn How to Say No!
We made a list of strategies that will help you -politely- say no in the workplace:
• Become more assertive
Being humble and down to earth is good, but having assertiveness in today’s world is more compelling. Being assertive in communicating your points of view and desires will help you create win-win situations. To be more assertive while speaking, we need to become more self-confident and improve our communication skills.
• Know your limits
Knowing your boundaries, and respecting them, will push you to be more conscious when making any decision. If you choose out of fear or people pleasing, without considering your needs or desires, you will feel bad, powerless, and insecure.
• Increase your self-confidence
Learning to say no is vital for your self-care and general well-being. Therefore, you need to be aware and confident of your desires and opinions, and the most vital part is that you comprehend that they are valuable. By understanding your needs and putting them first, you will find it easier to set boundaries.
• Don’t be a people pleaser
Never be a person who is always busy to please others, as you will lose your personality by making others delighted. This habit will make you powerless since you´re giving up your power by prioritizing the needs of others instead of yourself. You need to have one thing clear: it’s impossible to please everyone, and lastly, it’s not your responsibility.