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The Workplace Therapist: Use this simple phrase to tell your boss 'no'

By Isabel Thakur
Published in Jobs
May 11, 2023
1 min read
The Workplace Therapist: Use this simple phrase to tell your boss 'no'

Recently, I stumbled upon an interesting article titled The Workplace Therapist: Use this simple phrase to tell your boss ‘no’. This article caught my attention as the headline was intriguing. Upon reading it, I realized how valuable this piece of advice is in a professional setting.

In essence, the article suggests that sometimes it’s necessary to say “no” to your boss when you’re feeling overwhelmed, overworked or simply can’t take on additional responsibilities. But how to do it without offending or leaving a bad impression on your boss? Simple: Use the “Yes, and” phrase.

The idea is to start with acknowledging that you’ve heard and understood the request, say “yes”, and then add a suggestion or a change that would make it possible for you to deliver what’s been asked of you. For example, if your boss asks you to work on the weekend, you could respond with “Yes, I understand that the project is important and needs to be completed soon. And, I already have commitments over the weekend. But, I could work extra hours during the weekdays to catch up with the work.”

What I like about this phrase is that it doesn’t come off as an excuse or a refusal. Instead, it’s a polite way of declining without being confrontational or rude.

I can relate to this situation as once I had a boss who used to delegate tasks without considering my current workload or time constraints. Initially, I would accept all the tasks, but I soon realized I was juggling too many responsibilities at once and my productivity was taking a hit. Using the “Yes, and” phrase helped me communicate effectively with my boss without causing any friction.

In conclusion, mastering the art of saying “no” without offending someone is a valuable skill to possess in the workplace. The “Yes, and” phrase is a powerful tool that can help you achieve a balance between accepting additional responsibilities and managing your workload efficiently.

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Isabel Thakur

Isabel Thakur

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