Learn When To Say No

If you’re like most people, you’re constantly

fielding requests at work. The asks are formal and You can’t say yes to everyone and everything and informal, large and small, and from across the organization. The inflow is so significant, you can’t possibly agree to everything. So it’s crucial to learn when to say no and how to say both no and yes.

First, assess each request, systematically gathering the details that will allow you to make an informed judgment. If you do have to turn someone down, deliver a well-reasoned no.

A good no is all about timing and logic it’s in order whenever things are not allowed, cannot be done, or should not be done. Moreover, it’s communicated in a way that makes the asker feel respected. If the answer is yes, make it effective by explaining how you think you can help, pinning down the deliverables, and laying out a focused plan for execution.

The inflow of ask in recent times is daunting. And now more than ever, your professional success and personal well-being depend on how you manage it.

When you take on too many or the wrong things, you waste time, energy, and money and distract yourself from what is essential. Still, no one wants to anger or disappoint colleagues, family members or other contacts or , turn down key career and life opportunities.

You must therefore learn when and how to say both no and yes.

A considered no protects you. The right yes allows you to serve others, make a difference, collaborate successfully, and increase your influence. You want to gain a reputation for saying no at the right times for the right reasons and make every single yes really count.

How do you do it? Through decades of research into what makes people the most highly valued, indispensable employees at hundreds of organizations, I have uncovered a framework that works. It has three parts:

Assess the ask, deliver a well-reasoned no, and give a yes that sets you up for success.

When making a financial investment, most of us do some due diligence seeking more information to make a sound judgment. When you say yes or no to a request, you decide where to invest your resources, so give the choice the same careful consideration.

You should ask questions and take notes, clarifying every aspect of the request, including the costs and benefits.

A Well-Reasoned “No”

A thoughtful no, delivered at the right time, can be a huge boon, saving time and trouble for everybody down the road.

A bad no, hastily decided, causes problems for everybody, especially you. Bad nos happen when you haven’t properly assessed the ask; when you let decisions be driven by personal biases, including dislike of the asker or dismissals of people who don’t seem important enough; or when you decline simply because you’ve said yes to too many other things and don’t have any capacity left.

Bad nos often cause you to miss out on meaningful experiences and are more likely to get overruled, leaving hard feelings on both sides.

A good no is all about timing and logic. You should say no to things that are not allowed, cannot be done, or that, on balance, should not be done.

The first gate is the easiest to understand. If there are procedures, guidelines, or regulations that prohibit you from doing something or someone has already made it clear that this category of work is off-limits to you, at least for now then you give a straight no. (If you think it’s against the rules for everybody, please also consider talking the requester out of pursuing the idea.)

What do you say? “I don’t have discretion here. This request violates policy/rules/law.

Turning people down at the second gate is also straightforward (at least sometimes). If the request isn’t feasible, you say, “I simply can’t do it.” If you just said, “I don’t have the ability to deliver on it”, then you say, “Sorry, that’s outside my skill set. I’m not even close.”

An Effective “Yes”

Every good no makes room for a better yes one that

adds value, builds relationships, and enhances your reputation.

What is a better yes?

It’s aligned with the mission, values, priorities, ground rules, and marching orders from above. It’s for something that you can do, ideally well, fast, and with confidence. In other words, it involves one of your specialties or an opportunity to build a new one. It allows you to make an investment of time, energy, and resources in something highly likely to succeed and offers significant potential benefits.

The key to a great yes is clear communication and a focused plan for execution. First, explain precisely why you’re saying yes: You can enrich the project, you want to collaborate, you see the benefits. Then pin down your action plan, especially for a deliverable of any scope.

Make sure you agree on the details, including what the requester needs from you, what you will do together, how and when the work will be done, who has oversight, and when you’ll discuss the issue next. If this is a multi-step process, you might need to have several of those conversations as you go along.


Most people have been ruined due to their inability to know the appropriate time and circumstances to say YesorNo.

To succeed in your chosen career and all other Life endeavours , you must be able to know when to say yes or outright No.

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