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We’ve all been there – getting asked to stay late for a  weekend shift, taking on extra tasks, or filling in for a co-worker last-minute. It’s important to be helpful when you can, but in certain situations when you really can’t help out, it’s also important to be assertive.

Feeling Comfortable Saying No

It may feel like you’re being selfish when you decline tasks and requests at work, but acting in your own best interest is actually the only way that you can remain helpful to others. You are of no use to anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.

Being Your Best

Saying no to certain requests allows you to focus on what’s most important. That way, you can make sure you are doing your best work and putting your best self forward. As Warren Buffet famously said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

Listed below are 7 Steps you can take to make saying no easier. 

7 Steps to Saying No

1. Know Where You Stand in Your Work Relationships

It’s hard to say no if you’re not sure of the expectations surrounding you at work. There certainly are valid requests that you should take on to support the company. Just make sure to always establish a mutual understanding with your teammates about things like:

  • What responsibilities fall under your job title
  • What tasks your supervisor should assign you
  • What support you and your co-workers should offer each other

If you have a firm understanding of these boundaries, you can feel more confident in respectfully declining certain requests.

2. Get Space if You Need it

In most situations, you don’t need to respond right away. If you’re hesitant to commit to a task or working overtime, ask for some time to think about it. This way, you can evaluate the request more seriously and decide if it’s something you can take on right now. It also provides the chance to craft your response carefully and appropriately.

3. Just Say No

Be direct with your answer. Coming out and saying “no” right off the bat can feel harsh, but softer responses often times run the risk of being unclear. You can give your reasoning, but avoid making excuses or over-apologizing.

4. Be Honest

If you have concerns that are keeping you from taking on the task or accepting more hours, make sure to communicate them. Again, don’t use your concerns as an excuse. You need to be willing to work on a solution or come to a compromise that will benefit everyone.

5. Throw in Something Positive

Oftentimes, we don’t like saying no because we feel uncomfortable rejecting someone. But you aren’t rejecting the person, you are simply just declining that specific request. You might feel better if you put something positive into your response. You could offer to help with another task or suggest other solutions for their problem.

6. Take Control

Be prepared to stand firm in your decision. You might have to say no multiple times if the person continues to ask. The best practice is to repeat what you have already said; there is no need to offer any further explanation.

7. Don’t Feel Bad

You shouldn’t think any less of yourself for saying no. Remember, you have a right to responsibly manage your time and resources. A great employer will respect that and work with you. Just make sure you’re still promoting the success of the company.

Check out our blog for more great advice on job satisfaction or contact us here to start advancing your career today.

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