Just saying no isn’t as easy as it sounds

Why do we say yes when we want to say no? That conflict arises in our personal lives and on the job. Perhaps we don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings. Would we risk missing out on a big payday?

You don’t want to say no to your boss because you don’t want to lose your job. Family members and friends are also a tough no because of emotional ties — not to mention holding grudges because you declined.

Certainty, experience and confidence back up your ability to say no. Plus, if you get burned by saying yes, a future no might be easier to say.

A yes when you wanted to say no leads to regret from the start. It cuts down on the quality of your work and motivation because you really didn’t want to do it.

There are risks from saying yes when we want to say no. An undesirable yes yields undesirable results. We knew better and did it anyway to make someone else happy, but who’s sorry now? A bad yes takes a long time to get over.

Best for all

Sometimes it’s appropriate to say yes even though you’d prefer not to. Say yes when it serves the greater good. Your way isn’t necessarily the highway. In the long run, a reluctant yes that benefits many others also comes back good for you.

Likewise, learning to say no has benefits. It stakes out your independence. A well-considered no can boost your reputation for leadership and having a level head.

You can empower yourself with a no. Just say no once when conditions warrant. Getting that first no out of the way makes it easier to say no again when you need to.

How you say no depends on the request and how it was presented. If an ask was made with emotion, stay calm and empathetic. If a demand, again consider who’s demanding and the price of saying no. In any case, don’t pour gasoline on a fire.

You can empower others and help them learn to say no by following your example and outcomes. You know they’ve learned when you ask them a favor, and they reply, “No way.”

About The Author

Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.