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How to Get Better at Saying No to Your Boss


No is one of the first words we learn at toddlers but ends up being one of the hardest words to say, when we become older.

Saying no to anyone can be a challenge especially if you love to please others, and you thrive off being liked by all.

Saying no to bosses, in particular is an act most employees shy away from at all cost. While as parents, it may be easier to say no their children, and possibly their family and friends, the boss gets a pass.


The reason for this is obvious, as adults we fear the repercussion. Saying no could be detrimental to your position, and your standing with the boss and company.

What if we begin to see “saying no” as an act of self-liberation as opposed to one which results in punitive consequences. In saying no to you boss, you are demonstrating, that the idea or task that you are refuting may not be in the best interest of all involved and possibly the company.


One of the best ways to say no to your boss, is to make him or her realize why you cannot say yes. For instance, if you are being asked to add another project to your already full plate, make them realize the potential advantage of status quo versus the disadvantage of the added project.

Another way to say no to your boss is to present what is required of you in full details, versus the bandwidth that you have to work with. This puts them in a position to reassess, and they in turn say no to themselves, when they realize that the magnitude of the task and the bandwidth is not compatible.


Lastly, just say no. While I wouldn’t recommend blatantly saying no. A better way to approach it would be to appreciate them for considering you, but due to reasons (mention them) it would be counterproductive for you and a disservice to the company if you were to take on the task.

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