On Saying “No”

1c21618f-afc2-42cc-8ac2-0e560079cdd6.jpeg“No” seems to be the first word for many children, but as we grow older the use seems to dissipate.

As previously mentioned, I am an ENFJ with protagonist tendencies. My Strenghtsfinder test revealed multiple strengths in the Executing category as well. Two of my strengths are Achiever and Responsibility.

For reference:

Achiever: People strong in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.

Responsibility: People strong in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.

While those strengths (themes) make me excellent at accomplishing and owning tasks, they both make it very difficult for me to turn down tasks, despite my workload. To put it simply, I suck at saying “no”. 

Here’s what I have learned so far:

Avoid being a “Yes Man/Woman”. This one has been difficult for me, for the obvious reason that I despise telling people “no”. My Responsibility strength provides me with a strong sense of ownership and my Achiever strength drives me to accomplish each task offered to me. I tend to be the person to take on whatever is needed at work, regardless of my workload. This is a tough line to walk. You might run the risk of disappointing someone, but use your best judgment. Finding the balance here is difficult.

Look at your list. I make lists for everything. Groceries, tasks, ideas, and even events. This is my process of organization. What I tend to forget is that the list is not set in stone. Take a look at your list and don’t be afraid to re-organize and re-prioritize. I have recently started keeping ABC lists instead of listing items in numerical order. This has helped me immensely and has provided a more dynamic view of my tasks at hand.

Have a purpose. If you are going to say no to a task or project, do your research and have a reason. Does it conflict with a solid deadline? Is it something that is outside of your expertise/skills? Are you currently overloaded? All of these are a quick, simple conversation with your team or your supervisor.

Be open and honest. No one wants to disappoint someone else or cause them grief. Having an honest conversation with your supervisor or team about your workload is important. It provides a comprehensive view of your desk and workload while also providing an opportunity for collaboration and support. Working in a team environment provides us with a support system, just remember to use it when you need it. If you must decline a task or project, do so respectfully.

Have a process. Telling people no isn’t easy. But if you must do so, try to follow the following steps.

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your time is.
  2. Know your priorities. Only you know what’s on your list and how those items rank.
  3. Practice saying no. It’s okay to say no. But stop glorifying the art of being “busy”.
  4. Stop feeling bad. Everyone has limits, know yours.

Use your best judgment and know when to respectfully decline.

Stay excellent, my friends.

-Brittany Bee

I’d like to think I’m cooler on Instagram.

4 thoughts on “On Saying “No”

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