Leadership Strategies: When is it better to make waves and say NO?

Recently I’ve been asked “When is it better to ‘make waves,’ and say ‘NO’ rather than just go along with what is being said?

My response: The art of communication involves both active listening as well as the ability, to tell the truth appropriately. Here is some important learning about the impact of the simple word ‘NO ’as a key to success.

  1. Show you are in charge: No matter what your title, you are a leader in some respect. When time issues have everyone complaining, you can be the one to say, “There has to be a better way and NO we can’t keep doing what we’re doing the way we are doing it.”

If you are the leader of the team saying NO with strong, clear conviction will help everyone be ready to shift to Plan B.

  1. Stop the office politics: Often co-workers want you to side with them. It’s a natural tendency left over from the schoolyard where cliques formed and caused dissonance. If you show even the slightest interest in the gossip you will quickly be pulled into that ugliness. So, just say NO, you don’t want to hear the latest about who’s not getting along now.
  2. Be the change you hope for: When you set the example by listening without interrupting, using short, clear sentences and voicing your suggestions effectively you will find people coming to you for advice. They will also begin to model your brand of shorter, clearer communication. A direct ‘NO’ can keep business situations on track without the wasted time of defending, explaining or justifying your position.

The behavior types that have the most difficulty saying ‘NO’ are the pleasers, martyrs, rescuers and super achievers. Think about it for a moment, how hard is it for you to tell someone the NO word? Do you ever think you will disappoint someone by not agreeing with them and telling them so? Is it more important to be liked than to be right? All leadership development programs should have a section on what it means to say NO.

Often, outdated patterns keep you from speaking up.

You can see what your pattern is by taking the quiz >>HERE<<.

And please remember that “NO IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE.”

Sylvia Lafair

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