- Author: Angie Daugherty
- Subject Matter: How to say no in an effective way
How to say no in an effective way
With a name like Girl Wonder, you might expect me to have super powers. Sure, I’m pretty good at pulling events together, negotiating with vendors and planning. But sometimes I have to engage another special power – saying no.
Does this two-letter word make me a villain? As a boss, manager or coworker, does it make you one when you say it? I don’t think so.
You’ve seen the excitement in someone’s eyes and the pride that they exude when they have that great idea to bring to the table. Or even the courage it took to ask for something. From your vantage point, even considering those hurdles, it’s tough sometimes to agree to even the best, well-intentioned ideas.
Shooting down ideas and projects won’t make you popular, but it’s a necessary evil. As one of the guardians for how we do things and who we are, I’ve learned that there’s a right way and a wrong way for keeping on track.
3 Ways to be the good ‘bad guy’
- Listen – and hear – all ideas. Even if it seems crazy or can’t be accomplished for one reason or another, let the creative person who came to you finish sharing before you respond. If you pre-judge or shut them down right away, you could miss out on an out-of-the-box idea that aligns better than an original plan.
- Provide positive explanation. Any task takes time and people behind it to make it happen. When you have a shortage of one, the other or both, explain why you can’t say yes, especially if there’s a chance to revisit it down the line.
- Celebrate milestones. Your culture is one of your greatest assets, and showing appreciation for hard work is one of the best ways to keep up the fun.
Celebrating your people can soften a decision and is an underlying reminder of how important they are – especially when you have to say no to something like summer hours or getting a puppy for the office.
To protect your brand, your culture and sometimes your sanity, you can’t make everything possible. What is well within your power is being always open to solutions for larger problems, answering questions that inspire a change, and keeping it positive.