I get it; telling someone no feels selfish. But when you learn to say it artfully and strategically, everyone wins in the end. It’s all in how you deliver that important, critical word. Consider one of these approaches
- The flat-out “No.” It usually easier for someone to hear “No” for a reason so you might try something like “I appreciate your request. Thank you. Since it comes from you, I’ve given it a lot of thought .as a leader who likes to say yes, I would like to take on everything. But I’ve learned that I have to prioritize in order to be effective for the company. I’m sorry that I have to say no, because I have already committed to x and y, and I need to do the best job possible on those projects.
- Become a problem solver and offer an alternative solution
- Tinker with timing. – Offer to tackle the request at a later date. But go this route only if you know you can deliver. If you’re BS-ing it will burn trust.
- Accept with conditions – Can you alter the request to make it easier? You may say, for example “if you assign an project manager who can ensure everything stays on time and budget, I’ll be happy to do this” It’s a good way to test whether the requesting party has skin in the game .Maybe the project isn’t really that important to them.
- The thing about saying no is that it enables you to say yes in a much more collaborative way. They generally have more trust in somebody who is assertive – who can either push back or provide a new way to deal with the situation – Nadine Greiner