Saying no difficult to do, management coach believes


One comment I hear most days from busy, stressed out people, is how often they find themselves saying “yes” to a piece of work, when they really want to say “no”. The reason given for saying yes rather than no is typically the same – they don’t want to let someone down – even though it will create more work and possibly more stress for themselves. When I ask people about the factors that propel them into saying the yes rather than a no response, common themes emerge: for example: (i) fear – if they don’t put their hand up they may be seen as non-team players and that may have a consequence down the line; (ii) a lack of assertiveness – so they’re easy prey for those who may be pushy and demanding; (iii) lack of personal boundary – so they don’t have any sense of where their own limits and bottom lines are; (iv) strong personal values that include service and giving – so it comes naturally and effortlessly. Once people have realised that saying no is an appropriate response to some situations, they face the challenge of changing their thinking and behaviours. It can be done and the beginning point is simply a thought away.

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