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Setting Boundaries for Success: The Power of Saying “No” (pt. 2 of 2)

Categories: Assertiveness

No_FDP_Can you say "no" at work or elsewhere in your life, or does it make you feel guilty?

The ability to say "no" starts within, with knowing your own goals, personal values and priorities. In my previous blog, I suggested 6 questions to ask yourself to uncover that information.

If you still find yourself in the hesitant-to-say-"no" camp, perhaps, you need to remove the connotations from the words "yes" and "no," and think of them only on a situational basis. In other words, which is appropriate -- "yes" or "no" -- in this particular situation?

Here are three common workplace scenarios. Any sound familiar?

1) You always say "yes" to your manager, no matter what he or she asks. Then you become overwhelmed, overworked, frustrated, disorganized, and fall behind. Guess what? It’s time to set boundaries. Believe it or not, you will be doing both yourself and your manager a favor!

Here’s how to approach this situation: “I am happy to do (whatever favor or project he/she asked about). These are the projects I’m working on now. What should my priority be?” Or, break a project into chunks, and be very clear in your communication: “I can accomplish this by XX, but the rest won’t be done until XXX.”

2) Your customer is overly demanding, manipulative even. The more ground you give, the more this client takes. Is it worth it?

Here's how to approach this situation: "Before deciding whether it's worth it, you must know your specific goals and values. Be willing to walk away. Politely. With your head held high. And of course, always carefully consider the possible ramifications to your bottom line and reputation if you do walk away.

3) You are a manager who finds him/herself constantly doing work your staff should be doing, or redoing work your team has done.

Here's how to approach this situation: Do a bit of soul-searching. Ask yourself: “How much time/cost did my involvement add? What was the message to my staff? Do my actions enable or disable them for the future? Was it necessary? Remember “GE” -- Good Enough.


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