How to say NO to your boss!
Oprettet den: Wednesday, 29. March 2017 - 11:18 / caf
Are there tasks that I should not say no to? Can I say no to tasks in general? And if I do, will I be the first to be let off if we experience job cuts? But if I say no, I have to compromise the quality of my other tasks, and that might stress me.
IDA’s Career Counsellors often meet members who have a hard time saying no to the boss or colleagues, who load their work on you. Ann Carøe gives you some advice on how to say no to tasks.
”You can easily prioritize your energy on the wrong tasks if you do not learn to say no. You need to focus on your strengths, competencies and the tasks that motivate you. There are many tasks that you can solve well, but will drain your energy at the same time. Once you take control of it, you have a better foundation for saying no to the work your colleagues and boss might try to load on you,” she points out.
Why does tasks drain energy?
There are many reasons as for why some tasks can drain your energy – even if you are good at them. It might be that the tasks do not motivate you. Or maybe your competencies are not used or you see yourself as being weak inside the specific area. Maybe you have learned the tasks along the way and have not chosen them yourself.
”It is important for you to know your own strengths and weaknesses, and what works as motivational factors for you. Fact is, that it is very hard saying no to tasks you know you can solve well. But it might be acquired tasks and those are the ones that drain you,” says Ann Carøe.
You cannot change time
Saying no is also about defining your own limitations for what you can do and what you want to be a part of.
“Once you know your own competencies and strengths and say no, it shows that you have respect for yourself – and that you have a sense of responsibility for the performance of your core tasks. You cannot change time. If you keep taking on tasks from everybody else, the outcome will be mediocre,” says Ann Carøe.
If the added tasks are draining you and knocking over your time schedule, that is when you need to say no.
”You need to see it as saying no to extra tasks is a way to create more time for saying yes to the tasks that excite you and gives you energy. So you have to train saying no while being conscious about the fact that it does not make you a poor performer or a bad colleague. Otherwise you run the risk of burning out or risking your well-being,” says Ann Carøe.
Match expectations with your boss
Sometimes you will get tasks that you cannot turn down. And this is where you need to have balanced expectations with your boss.
”You need to be specific about what tasks have to de-prioritize if you take on new ones. Your desk is so crammed up with tasks that your boss needs to help you prioritize. Maybe some of your tasks even need to be placed at somebody else’s desk for a while, “ says Ann Carøe.
It is particularly difficult if you are on an all-inclusive salary and have a boos who thinks you should use your evenings, weekends and holidays in order to perform your tasks. But here is where you need to learn to say no in a respectful and constructive way.
Not ending up as the angry nay-sayer
“I would like to say no thank you to that task”, “I do not want to do that task”, “I do not have the right competencies”, “In that area I just do not feel I have anything to contribute with”, “My calendar simply does not allow it”. These are all sentences that you can use when your boss or others are loading a new task on you.
“Realize that you can use your professional capabilities and saying when it does not make sense. Maybe your boss is not aware of your existing workload. There are a lot of ways of saying no without be perceived as the angry nay-sayer,” Ann Carøe explains.
Saying no to a task does not mean you are saying no to the person. You can come up with alternative ways of solving the task. A response could be: ”My calendar does not allow it, but if you can wait until after Easter I might be able to help.”
The financial crisis created a fear of saying no
Ann G. Carøe also believes that the worldwide financial crisis created cultures where employees feel they have to say yes to all tasks.
“There are workplaces where the employees are afraid of the next round of job cuts. We are gregarious animals and if everybody else says yes, you do not want to be the only one saying no,” says Ann Carøe who in situations like these advice people to gather the courage to go talk to the colleagues about how they feel. Maybe some of them feel the same way as you.
Are you willing to take the consequences of a no?
You need to decide if you are ready to take the consequence of saying no – or yes to too many tasks.
”If you say yes, it will affect your family and children. If you say no – is it better than risking burning out?” says Ann Carøe as good reasons to say no. She also reminds us, that we are employees; we are not slaves to our work.
And if worst comes to worst and you should get fired for saying no to tasks while having a good reason for doing so – maybe it is for the best, says the Career Counselleer.