It is very difficult to be assertive at work sometimes. Depending on which company one works for, it can be even dreadful. This phenomenon has to do with our need to be accepted in our work environment and with the fear that we are going to be considered lazy if we don't accept some requests or go the extra mile.
So, how do we say NO in the workplace, if faced with an unreasonable request? Here a practical observation and some practical tips that I want to offer you.
PRACTICAL OBSERVATION that works every time if you try it: if the person asking you to do something is your boss, remember that this manager of yours is also a person: he/she has also another boss that is probably afraid to say NO to, it's a common human being that goes home, sleeps, eats and dreams and probably is stressed just as much as you are. Understanding this will help you relativize the image of your manager and, when confronted to him/her on an unreasonable question, you will be prone to propose something more realistic, perhaps.
Remember as well, your NO does not mean necessarily a denial in action from your side, but it's indeed an expression of a potential improvement in a task that sometimes we really should not do. It is not a lack of respect towards your manager, it is for your own self-respect. So..
HERE THE TIPS:
- Saying NO to a request out of your scope or task: "I am not the most suitable person for the new layout of the flyer. I'm a copywriter and I do not have a graphic designer education. But I can certainly recommend you somebody who is a good graphic designer.."
- Saying NO to work overload: "I can take over this specific project of course, but only if I park the previous project for a couple of weeks. Do you think it's feasible?"
- Set up boundaries and PRIORITIES- if necessary create a waiting lists for your colleagues who are asking you different things "I'd be happy to do that. It can be ready in 2 months".
I am sure you smile when you see the 2 months deadline, but sometimes there should be someone in a company who has the courage to say "hey, if you want things done correctly, it takes time" :)
More on how to say No on my FindYourWay blog. Stay tuned! Do not be afraid to be considered lazy! You are doing the best you can at work, I am sure! :)