9 JANUARY 2020


It takes a great deal of courage to walk away, tenacity to say no and a brave heart to stand up for what is right even when all are on the other side.

In the quest of being a good companion, a supportive team member or even a loving family member, we could often be in a dilemma of saying 'no' either at work or at home respectively.

Let’s see how we could overcome these challenges and gear up for healthy collaboration in society despite saying 'no'.

Polite refusal

A firm but polite refusal to do your friend a favour or your boss a special task, will help you grow. You can refuse them by assertively letting them know that you don’t have time for their activity. Never make an unnecessary promise to do it, if you believe at the outset, that you will definitely not be accomplishing that task. Being straight forward may sometimes be misunderstood but that would be far better than accepting to do the task and later backing out. Being upfront and respectful to the other will hold you in good stead as a forthright person and respect for you can only increase.

Focus on your priorities

No alt text provided for this image It is good to be mindful of people’s time. Likewise, you should also ensure that others around you are also mindful of your time and not push you to do something which you detest doing. Have you noticed people looking at their watch when meetings are overrun ? Do you remember the last time when your favourite band played for a limited time at a show ? Or lastly, Have you noticed bosses or colleagues at work give team members different looks if a conference call went a few minutes past the scheduled time of close ? At times, you may need to end the meeting at the scheduled time, even if you had nothing to do after that. This will send across the right message that your time is of value to you first and you value others time as well. You know your priorities better than any other.

Schedule another time

If you are convinced that you would like to help the other or complete their request but due to lack of time at that moment you can’t do it, then you could always politely reschedule the task. Rescheduling will also help the requester to value your time better. Ultimately focusing on the job at a later mutually accepted time will be more fruitful, provided you honour your commitments.

Being self-centered is not wrong as long as it doesn't border onto pride.

After all, the one who understands your value best is yourself.

Quick tips:

  1. Avoid false commitments.
  2. Avoid saying 'yes' under duress.
  3. Avoid saying 'yes' just to please the other.
  4. Avoid saying 'yes' and talk behind people's back.

While saying 'no' depicts the character of the person (one who is unambiguous, assertive and to the point), saying 'yes' could get one into time management concerns and misunderstanding that could lead to credibility concerns of the individual.

This article is written by Willis Langford. An unbiased, result driven & passionate HR professional who has a flair for technology and keen interest in making this world a better place with a zest for life.