In today’s new normal of fewer resources – less staff, less time, and constantly changing priorities, many of us are afraid to say no. I get it. It’s natural to fear that if you say no, you’ll suffer consequences – poor performance reviews, your supervisor or coworkers won’t like you, or complaints that you are not a team player.
Yet saying no is actually very good for your career, your company, and your workplace – when you say no for good reasons and communicate effectively. Consider the following to help you make fast yes/no decisions at work.
Say No to Build and Protect Your Reputation
This probably sounds contrary to your belief system. We are taught to say yes and be a team player. However, say yes all the time and you’re bound to poorly perform at least on some tasks, be so constantly overwhelmed and stressed you are miserable to be around, or lose credibility when you don’t complete everything you said you would.
Say Yes to High Profile Projects
Understand exactly how you are measured, both objectively and subjectively and say yes to those projects that affect your performance reviews and compensation. You won’t get credit for doing extra work if you don’t get your core responsibilities completed with high quality. If you do get a distraction disguised as an opportunity, weigh out how the project can help with your long-term goals.
Say No to Increase Your Production and Quality
Saying yes too often and performing other non-vital tasks is draining- it drains your focus, your concentration, your time, and your energy. When you say no, you’ll focus on your most important responsibilities and have the time and energy to do them well. You’ll feel better about your work and enjoy it more.
However you can’t say no all the time.
It’s tempting to say no when you don’t like the person asking, or you don’t like the task itself. That’s not a good enough reason.
If you have less experience or reputation you probably want to say yes more often to build your credibility, and also your experience.
Who’s asking? What is their relative position and reputation? The higher they are on the food chain, or the greater effect they can have on your reputation, the more likely reason to say yes.
Weigh the short-term, and long-term benefits of saying yes or no. For example if it’s a one-time request that won’t take a lot of time, you might say yes. Be a team player. However, when the task is frequent, ongoing, lengthy, or the request is repeated often, it’s time to assess the situation more carefully.
If saying yes will either cause your work quality to suffer, other deadlines or tasks to be delayed, will overstress you, or miss other commitments, it is probably best to say no.
Solution: Run a cost/benefit analysis and make the best decision for you! What do you think?