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Say ‘yes’ to no: 6 ways to say ‘no’ at work and still get ahead - HR Vietnameses

Nguyễn Hùng Cường | 9:23 AM | 0 comments

Say ‘yes’ to no: 6 ways to say ‘no’ at work and still get ahead

There are ways to break the habit of saying yes and get your life back, without giving up your career goals.

When did “no” become a four-letter word? It seems like only yesterday when Nancy Reagan was on a very special episode of “Diff’rent Strokes” to talk to Gary Coleman about the virtues of saying no. (Those were the days, eh?)

If only the former first lady were around today to speak with today’s working professionals about just saying no at work. In addition to steering them away from drugs, she could also advise them to steer clear of taking on extra work, which (not unlike drugs) can so often take a toll on workers’ stress levels and productivity.

Despite their already full workloads, tight deadlines and packed schedules, many working professionals have a hard time saying no, for fear of missing out on opportunities and damaging their professional image. Contrary to popular belief, however, saying no doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can be incredibly empowering, says Scott Fetters, founder of High Five Digital Marketing.

“Saying no is your battle shield for deflecting distractions, staying true to yourself and sticking to the course,”Fetters writes.

Not to mention that it’s also one’s right to say no. Saying no, however, does not come easy -- especially in the workplace.Women in particular have a hard time saying no -- perhaps due to a learned habit of trying to please everyone or an inherent fear of hurting other people’s feelings. Fortunately, there are ways to break the habit of saying yes and get your life back, without giving up your career goals.



Six ways to say no at work and still get ahead:

1. Shift your mindset. Don’t think of saying no as giving up or giving in. Look at it as a way to free up time for what’s truly important to you. “Some of us have a hard time saying no because we hate to miss an opportunity,”says HBR’s Peter Bregman. But saying no isn’t about missing an opportunity -- it’s about making a choice and opening yourself up to a different opportunity.

2. Take pride in saying no. Many people hesitate to say no for fear of losing respect from colleagues or their manager, when in reality, saying no can have the opposite effect. Saying no “shows you have a vision, a plan and an opinion,” Fetters says.

3. Be clear. One of the reasons women hate to say no is fear of hurting someone else’s feelings. But when you say no, you’re not rejecting that person -- just the request. So be clear and explain -- honestly -- why you’re rejecting the request.

4. Don’t feel guilty. Remember: You have a right to say no. Don’t feel guilty for saying no. After all, if you say yes to work and you don’t have the time, resources or energy needed to produce a quality result, isn’t that more unfair to the person whose request you’re accepting than saying no?

5. Choose the right words.When saying no, use the phrase “I don’t” instead of “I can’t,” which research shows is a more effective way to say no. As Heidi Grant Halvorson, director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University, explains, “‘I don’t’ is experienced as a choice, so it feels empowering. It’s an affirmation of your determination and willpower. ‘I can’t’ isn’t a choice … [It] undermines your sense of power and personal agency.”

6. Know when to say yes.Say yes only to the projects you truly want to take on, says career expert Lindsay Olson. “Before you say yes to something,” she suggests, “pause a moment and ask yourself whether this is truly something you want to do, or whether you simply feel obliged to say yes to it.”

(Picture Source: Internet)
HRVietnam - Collected

QUIZ: Are you enthusiastic, or are you a kiss-up?

Some people are naturally more energetic, positive and enthusiastic than others, and then there are the people who channel those emotions and actions into advantageous relationships, also known as kiss-ups.

Do you use a lot of exclamation marks when you send an email?! Is the status report of every project you’re working on “Great!”? Do you have a handshake that could give whiplash to someone’s wrist if you’re not careful?

Some people are naturally more energetic, positive and enthusiastic than others, and then there are the people who channel those emotions and actions into advantageous relationships, also known as kiss-ups. While it’s fine to be a hard worker and bring your enthusiasm to the role, you risk your reputation and relationships with co-workers if your behavior more closely resembles manipulation, and nobody wins in that scenario. Avoid the drama and take this quiz to find out if you’re simply enthusiastic or acting like a kiss-up.



1. Have you ever brought in coffee or snacks for your boss?

A. Yes, but they were also for the department to enjoy.
B. No, that’s not part of my job.
C. Yes, every Monday morning I bring her favorite coffee and muffin from the café across town.

2. How often do you volunteer for the projects nobody wants?

A. I’ve stepped up and taken projects that weren’t my favorite -- but it felt good to get the work done.
B. Never…other people usually end up taking them and I’m fine with that.
C. As often as I can! I know my boss will notice and reward my efforts.

3. Who do you usually talk to at the office holiday party?

A. My co-workers, the boss, my co-workers’ guests, the cleaning staff, the caterers…
B. The same people I talk to at work and maybe their guests.
C. My boss and her husband, her boss, human resources and any other important power players.

4. Do you ever stay late or work weekends if there’s a bigger workload?

A. Sure! If the work can’t get done on normal hours, I don’t mind taking the extra time to do it right.
B. I’ve had to, but I wouldn’t volunteer my time if I could get the deadline moved to accommodate the workload.
C. One time I didn’t while my boss was on vacation, but most of the time I’m the first to volunteer to stay late.

5. Your boss made a major financial mistake and the department is in serious trouble. What do you do?

A. If the mistake can be fixed, I’ll try to help. Otherwise, there’s not much I can do.
B. Nothing -- it wasn’t my fault, right?
C. I confidentially tell my boss that I can take the blame for this mistake if it means I’ll be rewarded for my loyalty later.

Mostly A’s: You’re enthusiastic. The energy you bring to your job is contagious, and your co-workers are likely glad to have you around. From helping with unsavory projects to being social at company parties, you’re a strong member of the team and when you’re not around, people miss your presence. There’s never a quiet brainstorm session when you’re in attendance, and waiting at the microwave in the break room isn’t too awkward, thanks to your steady stream of conversation. All in all, your enthusiasm is a valuable asset to your career. Just make sure your emails aren’t solely punctuated by exclamation marks.

Mostly B’s: You’re a killjoy. You don’t need to have a smile on your face every day to do a good job at work, but your morose attitude isn’t doing you any favors. It doesn’t seem like you’re networking within your company or outside of it, and your refusal to lend an extra helping hand is likely preventing you from establishing new relationships or earning the trust of your co-workers. Remember that extra work and achievements are the way to move forward in your career, and the attitude that you have during those accomplishments is what sets you apart -- for better or for worse.

Mostly C’s: You’re a kiss-up. It’s great that you’re so eager to help a team member or be there to support your boss, but it’s clear that you’re out for the approval of upper management instead of letting your achievements speak for themselves. In fact, what achievements do you have? If you’re more memorable for always standing in the boss’s shadow than for the successful project you headed last quarter, it’s time to rethink your priorities and establish a game plan that puts you and your hard work front and center.

(Picture Source: Internet)
HRVietnam - Collected

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