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How to say “No” to your boss without risking your career

How to say “No” to your boss without risking your career

Each and every one in life had to answer “no” to certain requests. And if it is easier for relatives, friends and just acquaintances to refuse the refusal, then many are afraid to refuse the instructions of their superiors. They are afraid that they will be considered uninterested in their work, suspected of disrespect for their superiors or of elementary laziness. A certain type of people are even intentionally ready to take on everything and even more: this way they feel needed and irreplaceable.

Suffering from hyperresponsibility, even if they refuse, then they suffer from a sense of guilt. But most are still afraid to say no for fear of losing the support of their superiors or even their jobs.

Nevertheless, there are several ways to refuse the tedious and unpleasant assignments of superiors and at the same time not find an enemy in their person. Of course, these methods do not guarantee 100% success and are applicable depending on the circumstances.

Method one: do not refuse, but refer to the circumstances due to which you will not be able to devote your personal time to work (pick up the child from the kindergarten, go to the doctor, urgently pay for any services, etc.). Thus, it will be possible to clarify the timing of the execution of the order of the chief and try to find a compromise.

Method two: agree to complete part of the assignment. Referring again to your other responsibilities. For example, say: “Yes, I can help you, but I cannot take all the work on myself, because ...”. After this phrase, you can ask your boss to split the assignment between you and someone else. Thus, you will not answer with an outright refusal, complete the assignment, and at the same time you will not sacrifice your personal plans to the detriment of your work.

Method three: offer an alternative. Referring to insurmountable circumstances that prevent you from taking on additional workload, nominate another employee who, perhaps, will respond with an agreement: “I can talk to X, maybe he can replace me in this matter.” Or offer your help in any other project that you are more capable of.

Method four: agree on the condition that you complete the assignment if you have free time for this. Be sure to mention that you have other work responsibilities that you cannot neglect.

The fifth way: delay the decision-making time. “I need time to think about whether I can fulfill your assignment”, “I don't want to let you down, so I need to think about whether I can handle it.” Perhaps, during this time, another candidate for the task will be found.

Other ways

You can also watch more experienced colleagues as they cope with additional requests from their superiors. There is another way, however, rather dubious - to portray a lack of understanding. Before proceeding with the execution of the assignment, start asking a lot of explanatory questions, such as the order of actions, who to contact in case of unforeseen circumstances, what to do in those cases, etc. If you're lucky and your boss doubts your ability to complete the task, he'll outsource it to someone else. But it is dangerous to abuse this method - in the end, doubts may arise about your competence as an employee.

In any case, whichever way you choose, you always need to look for a compromise and not go into conflict, opposing yourself and your plans to the work of the company. And it must be remembered that constant refusals can hinder career growth, as well as complete reliability and a willingness to sacrifice oneself for the success of others.

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