How to say “No”

I’ve got some advice for anyone that needs to tell someone “no”. It’s simple – connect with them first. Know what’s going on for them. Know what the “no” will mean to them. This is true in all areas of life. Take a managerial situation, for example (which seems to be how I’m focusing this blog). Before saying no, bring yourself to your team mate. I don’t mean to go to their desk, I mean inside yourself, meet them where they are in the situation. Exhale and get connected to their role and their request. Know the no, don’t just say it.

This is actually true for all decisions a manager will make. Don’t issue edicts from a higher-than-thou place. Be connected to your team before you make a decision. Before you make a decision, listen to their input. For example, when I need to dedicate a person on my team to a new project, I will usually contemplate it myself and as long as I have enough information, I come up with who I think should do it. I then bring the project to the team, and specifically not say who I think should do it. Usually the team decision is the same person I think is good for the job. If it’s not, I listen to the arguments made and sometimes change my mind. If I don’t change my mind, I exhale, make sure I’m connected to the team, and give the reasons for my decision. And while everyone else may not prefer that decision, my decision is coming from a place of connection.

This empowers everyone and results in the best decisions for the team.

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