It’s common to view a job change as career advancement. You probably wouldn’t have made…
John Borrowman III
Borrowman Baker LLC
Admit it. There were times when you wished you could find a way to say “no” to your boss. You didn’t. But, you wished you could. You’re in good company. No one wants to be the one to say no. Even thinking about it brings on tension and fear that the boss might retaliate in some way.
If your choice is between saying no and doing a subpar job, though, maybe you’d better figure out how to handle this challenge. Here are some tips:
- Provide a good reason. The most effective way to say no is to include a good reason why. The most common reason is that you’re too busy to take on another assignment. The problem, of course, is that “I’m too busy” isn’t exactly what the boss wants to hear. Instead, share with your boss those projects and responsibilities you already have. Be specific about time requirements to complete them. Include information about your time management strategies to help make the point that you’re not letting yourself fall behind. If adding another commitment will cause your current workload to suffer, that should be apparent in your explanation.
- Acknowledge a weakness. Sometimes you want to say no because this would be a new task and you’re concerned about doing a good job with it. The only way to handle this situation is to be upfront and honest. As you’re expressing your concern, however, you can also ask about additional training or mentoring that would better position you to say “yes” the next time.
- Suggest options. Maybe you know someone in your group or team who is more qualified than you and would truly enjoy the assignment. Maybe you can think of a way to modify the assignment so you can take it on. Think about doing part of the task, or offering to provide guidance to someone below you in the hierarchy who would like the opportunity to demonstrate higher level capabilities. Offering options lets you demonstrate flexibility and leadership, skills that are valuable to your success in BV.
The thing all these approaches have in common is helping you avoid the actual word “no”. Whichever route you take, saying no is almost always better than failing.