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.

Connection through Blogging

Up until yesterday morning, I had been writing this blog mostly in a vacuum. There were two other people who knew about it – my wife and my friend Susan, who was a catalyst in me finally starting a blog (more info on my first blog post if you are interested). Yesterday morning I sent an email out to 50 or so family and friends. I’ve received some good feedback on how to say things (thanks Larry), some encouraging words, and some comments on what I had brought up.

I also had a thought provoking email from my friend Skip who I treasure that I have not seen in a few years. He said “I appreciate the connection with you i get through reading your posts”. I am quite pleased that I’ve found another good reason to blog – to stay connected to people that I know that I otherwise might loose connection with. It is easy to see how you can stay connected to me by reading my posts. Since connection is a two way street, me writing and you reading also keeps me connected to you, though not as directly. And if you are so inclined, post a comment or send me an email and my connection to you will be more direct.