How to Say No to Your Boss | Say No to the Boss in a right and clever way

By Prapoorna M

Last Updated: November 26, 2021

People have a hard time saying a No at work and especially when it’s a word from the higher authority, it gets worse. Be it an extra work that adds up before your deadline or maybe some extra hours that you need to pull out of your planned weekend. You feel stuck up when it’s your boss who’s on the other end.

Well, but what if there’s really an emergency that you don’t want to explain or if you don’t want to get suffocated from that extra work load? Are you looking for an answer? Then, go ahead and read this
article on how to say No to your boss, without being rude.

Getting Over-loaded?

In case you are getting loaded with a lot of work and are running out of time for that deadline, and your boss comes to you adding one more task, you of course need to shout a No. But, it could also be the case that your boss might have forgotten the list of tasks you are currently working on and their urgency to meet the deadline.

Also, showing your rage in words could cost you more!! Hold on for a second to calm down yourself and put it politely saying, “I would certainly be doing that incase I’m not having too much in hand, right now.” You may enlist the things you have to do and explain them how swamped up you are.

Otherwise, if your boss is shoving you up with many things within your deadline and expect you to say yes for them, you may put it up nicely like, “Can you please help me prioritize my list?” rather than bluntly saying, “No, I don’t have enough time.” This helps when you are up to your elbow.

When your boss offers to help, don’t hesitate to explain on what you’re working and how much is it going to take and what you would have to do or delay doing in order to complete that.

Using this technique, you are allowing your boss to think on what’s important on your plate. You now have the privilege to offer what you need to work on and to de-prioritize what is really not necessary. In this way, you get a great opportunity to save yourself from not getting stressed out and also could make it clear that you are committed to work, but not just excusing yourself from the responsibilities.

Colleague discussing with the boss
Colleague discussing with the boss

Was it a Bad Idea?

It is quite common that people come up with different ideas and your boss could also be sometimes one of them who can throw a bad idea. In that case, just think of the probable consequences of having that idea implemented, rather than concentrating on describing how bad the idea was. This gives you a sharp in-sight and solid points on that topic, enabling to prove yourself to be the brighter. Open your mouth to give your opinion only after making sure that your point is valid and that it needs to be heard. Then, give it a thought on expressing it.
When you encounter a stupid or terrible idea from your boss or from one of your team mates, never spill out, immediately. You might think, “I can never do that. How could you even think of it? That’s such an awful idea” But, hold your abrasive approach towards it. Instead, put it in a more polite way, by not addressing it at all. You may say, “Well, Can I share another idea?” or maybe, “How would you like it if we can…” by talking about your idea on that project. When you don’t address or appreciate someone’s idea in a group, it will obviously send a No message from your side.

Be Confident

Studies say that cool bosses would actually appreciate it when you say a No but with a sound reasoning. Well, it all depends on how you frame it. You must have a sound point to oppose something that has come from a superior.

How to Put it?

When you want to oppose something, before reacting to the situation, you should listen to the boss completely. Empathize and understand what is said and why. Now, if you still need to speak on that, clearly state that you understood what is just said. It could be put in this way, “I understand your
perspective, and I think that there’s another way to think about the situation.”

Honoring their idea and having sound reasoning in denying it would make anyone to appreciate it. Give the reasons and acknowledge the facts about it and explain your point in detail. It should never be a yes-or-no argument because it would result in arguments but won’t let any facts to come up.
Hence, try to clearly state the facts that were associated with the point you take a stand on. Finally, acknowledge that it’s the boss’s decision saying, “I have a strong opinion, but I understand that it’s your call”. Make it clear that your goal is to work for the good of the company. Framing it in a polite way will make any point its way.

When to Say It?

You must be wondering whether to say it on the face, then and there or to wait for the good time. Well, if you think that it’s a part of your job and you need to say it, be proactive. For example, when you don’t want to take that call during your weekend, make it clear when there is still that leeway. Then saying no won’t come as a surprise. When your boss or HR still feels that you might deny, it is the time for you to respond.

Saying a No, though is necessary, please check the situations that you had encountered recently, like if you had said a No recently, or if you had an issue with the management or maybe you have received a poor work evaluation or so, then it’s not at all good idea to raise a No in such cases. In case, your past performance has been praised and valued, understand that you have got more leeway. So, think appropriately and act.

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