“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” -Warren Buffett
I really don’t like saying no to people, especially when I know that I could help them. In effect, my common response to ‘Can you help me….” or “Do you have time to…” is always “Sure, of course I can!”
I do this because it feels good to give, it shows initiative and teamwork to managers and makes your coworkers view you in a positive light. But I think constantly making yourself available and taking on extra work when your buried in your own can sometimes take away from your own success. If you’re constantly saying yes to things, you’re going to find yourself overwhelmed and you’ll be more prone to burnout and poor performance.
The power of saying no is that it can lead to less stress, higher quality of work and advancement. Although it may seem harsh to deny someone help, there are ways of going about it so you don’t tarnish your working relationships and still seem approachable for future requests.
If someone asks you for help on an assignment when you’re inundated with work or on a deadline, politely share your other priorities and suggest another time to offer your expertise. If their request for help needs immediate attention, refer the person to another colleague who can assist them just as well, if not better. It’s important to note that you should always check in with your colleague before offering them up to make sure they are also not too busy to help. If you’re gracious and respectful of everyone’s time, chances are it won’t hurt your image or relationships in your office.
It’s simple; offer help, insights and advice when your able, and say no (nicely) or offer a referral when you’re not so everyone can succeed.
Tell me about an instance when you politely said no to someone’s request for help.