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SAY NO AT WORK?
June 3, 2019
Maybe . . . when it leads to a better yes
There are plenty of instances in life where no 100% means no and ‘Just Say No’ is your best response. But many workplace requests can’t (and shouldn’t) be handled with that two-letter word. Learning when and how to say no is vital to your success and to increasing your contribution.
“Overall, it is far more important to say yes in your career and to volunteer for more responsibility and stretch assignments,” says Karyn Schoenbart, CEO of market information company The NPD Group and best-selling author of Mom.B.A. “Going above and beyond has definitely helped me rise in my career. However, saying yes to too many things can lead to failure to deliver on your core job and make it impossible to say yes to important new opportunities,” she advises.
Desire to please
Although we often associate people-pleasing with women, all humans are wired to use behaviors that promote acceptance and further the group dynamic. It’s built into our survival mechanisms. That said, women tend to be judged differently when they exhibit the same leadership behaviors as men. Decisive men read as powerful and capable while equally strong women are often judged as cold or ruthless.
Empowering women to say no to overwork or dead-end assignments without derailing career progress requires thoughtful and intentional strategies.
No, and . . .
Of course, you want to be known as a go-to person and team player. That’s why saying no takes serious thought and finesse.
It also requires that you are good at what you do. “When you’re starting out, you need to prove your value by going above and beyond,” Schoenbart says. “You first have to demonstrate strong competence in your role.” Then, when no is your best answer, do it like this.
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