How to Say “NO” at Work

Not simple to say in private, but harder to voice when it comes to declining something at work.

What Are You Saying Yes To?

You may be trying to avoid conflict or maybe you just want to be liked, but will you like the way you’ll be treated people who say yes to all additional work?

You may want to be seen as a go-getter or a high performer but author Lisa Earl McLeod says it may backfire. You may be seen as the person who people can dump their work on instead.

There are alternatives McLeod recommends you offer to do part of the project the second part she warns if you take on the first part the rest of it might be dumped in your lap. Other responses include

  • What if I help you with something else?
  • I’m so glad you would trust me with this, but I have to say no this time
  • I enjoyed helping you the last time but this time I just can’t I can’t help you this week.
  • Can you check back next week to see if I have time?

What if your boss asks you to take on another project and you are already maxed out? Do not take it for granted that your manager knows exactly how long it takes for you to do your existing tasks. Express that you want to take on the work but ask what you can put on the back burner until you are finished.

Try to put the business’s interests first and always avoid using personal reasons as an excuse.

If you are unsure about taking on another task, give yourself some time to respond. Ask if you can get back to your boss or a co-worker by the end of the day. Hopefully, that’s something they can say yes to.