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Is there a good way to say ‘no’ to your boss

By | Madeline Mann |

I struggled with saying no to my boss and coworkers, until I started using these 5 approaches that allowed me to say “no” without sounding rude or lazy.

It’s a situation many of us have been in: we have a get-it-done, make-it-happen attitude, we work so hard, and we don’t say no to any request that is thrown our way. And then what happens? We become overwhelmed with work, our attention pulled in many different directions, and the most important work we need to get done suffers.

The bottom line is you need to start saying no to more things. It can be tough, especially when senior folks in the company are asking you to do things, but focusing your time and setting boundaries is important for any professional. Many of these tips are inspired by Essentialism, it’s a book that changed my life.

Here are 5 ways to say “no”:

1. Use the “Yes, what should I re-prioritize?” method

This works especially well when receiving requests from superiors. Let me give you an example:

I once had a boss say to me,

  • “Will you make customized agenda and place settings for each person attending the training for tomorrow? That will be such a nice touch.”

In one sentence she assigned me 3 hours of work. So I said:

  • “Yes, today I am booked up completing info packets, meeting with each vendor to ensure they have everything, and syncing up with each participant – what should I re-prioritize for this?”

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