As a new manager, I made a horrible mistake. Well, I’m sure I made many horrible mistakes, but today we’re only going to talk about ONE of them.

I had a super star employee on my team. She was smart, motivated, ambitious, organized. She got every thing done well and right and on time.

I gave her more and more projects and she always said “yes” when I asked her to do things. She never said no to me. Never.

Until one day, she just broke. And she quit.

Over time she had gotten so burned out and overwhelmed that she hit a breaking point. I tried to bring her back from that point once I knew she was overwhelmed, but it was waaaay too late.

She was so done.

I assumed that if I was giving her too much, she’d tell me. That’s what I would have done.

But she didn’t know how to say “no” to me.
She didn’t want to disappoint me or be seen as “not a team player.”

As a manager, it was a painful lesson and one I never forgot. After that, I made checking in my number one priority: how’s your work load? Are you able to do what you have in a way that keeps you sane and keeps our team strong?

That meant I had to learn how to advocate for more resources when my team got overwhelmed.

And I rarely lost good people and I never lost good people for overloading them with too much.

Think about my story when your manager comes in and asks you, “Can you get me that report?” and you say, “YES!”

Then your phone rings with another request and you say YES again.

Suddenly your day is filled with things that were not on your to-do list or your calendar.

But how do you actually say “no”?

Here are 12 awesome ways to say “no”:

  1. Let’s look at our calendars and find a time that works.
  2. Let’s look at my list of projects and decide what to rearrange so I can fit this in for you.
  3. I’m completely booked this week on other projects.
  4. What can we reassign to someone else on the team to make space on my calendar for this?
  5. Thanks for thinking of me. I wish I could do it.
  6. I’d love to, but I’m already committed.
  7. Unfortunately it’s not something I can do at this time.
  8. I wish I could, but I just can’t.
  9. I don’t think I’m the right person to help with that.
  10. I’m sorry, I can’t help at this time.
  11. That sounds great but I’m not available.
  12. That’s not going to work for me.

Then use SILENCE. Just be quiet and see how they respond.

Try one out and let me know what happens!

Warmly, Melissa

Could you do me a favor and click on the link below to tell me when it comes to negotiating, what is the single biggest challenge, frustration or problem that you’ve been struggling with? 

Go here now if you identify as an EMPLOYEE, you work for someone else 

– or –

Go here now if you identify as a BUSINESS OWNER, you work for yourself 

It only takes a minute or two and would mean the world to me.

Let’s connect!

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