The 4 Times You Should Say No At Work

Feel obligated to say ?yes, of course? each time, especially when you?re the newbie at work? News flash ? sometimes saying no can actually help your career.

When you're the new employee, saying "yes" at work is the way to go if you want to get noticed by your colleagues and boss. But also know that there are times when saying no is actually OK. In fact, you may gain more respect from your colleagues by doing so (trust us, it's true). Here are a few situations when no is the right answer. Plus, how to say no without feeling guilty.

#1 When You Have Way Too Much Going On

Too often, people burn themselves out by agreeing to take on more tasks than they can handle. You want to impress everyone at work by showing that you can do it all but isn't it better to do a few things great than a lot of things mediocre? Plus, if you're too busy yet continue taking on more work, you're likely to miss deadlines -- which you might as well have not said yes to in the first place!


Taking on a new task/responsibility is a great opportunity for a newbie. It lets you show your colleagues, especially your boss, what you're capable off, right? Not if you don't have a single clue about what you're saying yes to! In this instance, it is better to admit to the other party that you aren't the right person for the job and might actually get in the way. Your honesty would be much appreciated instead of the blunder of a job you may possibly do.


You know that feeling you get when something seems off? That's a big clue that it's better for you to say no. For example, a client may ask for you to do something that's demanding or completely out of scope. Or maybe a colleague wants you to cover for him on a lie that he has completely fabricated. It could even be the boss who might ask you to say yes to something that makes you feel not OK with. Listen to your gut feel on this -- if it is something that makes you feel incredibly uncomfortable, politely decline (or say you'll get back with an answer later to properly assess the situation).


There are many instances at work when you need to look out for number one, which means saying no to situations that don't exactly benefit you. Like taking on mundane tasks or attending a meeting that doesn't concern you at all just because a colleague wants the extra company. It's OK to be a little self-centered and politely decline, especially if by saying yes it will involve a huge time commitment on your side.


#1 Be honest and straightforward

Tell your colleague or your boss the real reason why you're saying no by preparing your points, making sure they are clear and valid.

#2 Do it in person

Emails can be misinterpreted. So to make sure the other party knows exactly why you're declining to help, tell them face-to-face your reasons so that they can see you?re genuine about it.

#3 Ask for help with prioritising tasks

If it's your boss who assigns the task to you, then politely ask if you can discuss the priority of each task you currently have assigned to you before you say yes. If you're completely swamped your boss will be able to see that. Otherwise, you'll get a clearer picture of what needs to be done first to work more productively.

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