You need to set boundaries and let other people know what these are. Some people are selfish or thoughtless and disregard your boundaries. Sometimes they become complacent and you have to remind them of your boundaries. Some people have no hesitation at all about taking up your precious time, making unreasonable requests of you, asking personal questions or inviting themselves into your space/office. You have to believe that there are times when it is right to say no.
When a request is made of you and you cannot oblige on this occasion there are three ways of saying ‘no’:
The ‘direct No’: No I can’t and the reason for that is…
The ‘soft No’: I understand your needs and understand
how important it is. On this occasion I cannot do what you want, but what I can do is find a solution – perhaps find someone else to do it for you, or maybe you could type it up in draft yourself and I will format it tomorrow.
The ‘pre-emptive No’: Where you know someone is going to ask you ‘Are you able to do…’ Before they start you say:
‘I am so looking forward to getting away on time tonight as I have to go to…’ Then they either won’t ask or will understand better when you say no!
Remember – you are only refusing a request not rejecting a person. State your own position clearly and confidently, even in conflicts with superiors. Look for a solution and offer a compromise: ‘I can’t work late this evening, but as it is important I’m prepared to come in early tomorrow.’ Or: ‘I can’t work late this evening, but as it is important I will ask my colleague to stay for you on this occasion and I will do
the same for her/him when I can.’ Even when there is conflict with others, you need to make or act on decisions.
Conflict can be destructive when it results in frustration, confusion, divided teams, low morale and demotivated staff. However, it can also be constructive when it opens up discussions, promotes creativity and solutions, clarifies issues and results in higher performance.
If you want to shine in your role, take a look at the training courses we offer at Bingo Traders. Designed specifically for EAs, PAs, HR, Admins, Office Managers,… , these learning opportunities provide the skills and knowledge you’ll need to excel.
Sue France / Photo on Unsplash