Saying no is hard but necessary

Fiscal year-end is March 31st where I work and it’s the same thing every year.

  1. Divisions have fallen behind and IT gets blamed. Sometimes we deserve it, sometimes we really don’t.
  2. Requests to help out come in fast and furious, stressing employees.
  3. Well-intentioned employees say “yes” to too many requests.
  4. Said employees come to my office and request help as they can’t keep up.

So, in an effort to help my team keep their sanity, I have looked for online training on how to say no! Here’s the best tip I’ve found.

“The just say no sandwich”

Step one – begin with what you are willing to do

Soften the “no” by stating what you’re willing to do. Something positive, bridge-building and easy on the ear.

Hey Frankie, can you show me how to manage my work in Outlook so that I can be more productive?

I will send you a link to our “Productivity resource page” on the subject. It has short, helpful videos on that very topic.

Step two – say no

I can’t help you right now as I’m working on our Disaster Recovery plan for the Board of Directors.

Step three – get her to open…. I mean repeat what you can commit to again

Check your inbox in a few minutes for that link, it will help you.

Pretty simple stuff right? The key takeaway for me – you don’t need to feel like a jerk for saying no. If you state what you can do up front, the requester will feel like you are on their side and you won’t add more work to your already full plate.

What do you think? How do you say no?

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