Here’s how to say no to your boss when you’re asked to take on too much. With these out-of-box ideas, you (probably) don’t need to worry about getting fired.
In fact, if your boss has any kind of clue (some bosses don’t sure) she will end up appreciating you for being such a great employee. But first, a business comedy break from our favorite cartoonist!
Three Smart Ways to Say No to your Boss
Oh – and here’s an implementation tip: Saying no to your boss isn’t a big event, like a senate filibuster. If you want to learn how to say to your boss well, you’ll realize the process is a conversation. Have an open-mind dialogue with your boss in a spirit of helpfulness.
1. Say no to your boss by allowing her to make room on your plate.
Maybe your priorities (given by your boss) would be compromised if you don’t say no. Make her aware. Oh, ok. What would you like me to re-prioritize at this point? I’ve got these three projects, so if I add another, which project do you want me to put on the back burner for now?
This puts the responsibility where it belongs. If you can’t take on another project, then allow your boss to make the necessary adjustments. Maybe you’ll get this new project. Maybe you won’t.
2. How to say no to your boss – provide an alternative solution that works.
If you actually have a better solution, then offer the alternative. You can say: Yep, this needs to get done so that (mention the end result you know your boss is looking for). I actually can get you there by (offer a simpler solution). How about that?
Don’t make up solutions that suck just to take yourself out of the loop. You know that (please know that).
3. Say no to your boss by finding a better person to do the job.
Your plate might be full. Or there might be a better-qualified person to do the job your boss is asking you to do. Offer to make arrangements. Don’t complain or act like a victim. Say something like Hey, you know what, so-and-so would be a better choice to get this done right now and he’s been looking for an additional project. Can I make arrangements to have him do it and confirm with you?
Tip: Don’t lie and throw your colleague under the bus. Don’t take advantage of anyone. That’s NOT how to say no to your boss. Don’t be a cop out. Use this one if it’s true. Right?
Biggest takeaway: You CAN say no to your boss. And there’s usually a good way to do it beyond, “No. Just no!” Hopefully.
Learn how to say no to your boss and restore your sanity at work! Don’t remain helpless. It just might be easier than you think.