Leadership Motivation - Assertiveness and How To Say No

Business people shaking hands, finishing up a meeting

Dr. Purushothaman
September 30, 2013

Assertiveness and Being able to say no; but thank you for asking.

For many people its challenging, its far easier to say yes, I remember a commercial some years ago where they said you can't say no to a brand of corn chips. And once you have had one of those corn chips it is hard to say no.

Anyway in regards being assertive and being able to say no. For many people they have the perception that if they are assertive, and they say no, it may mean I am saying no to other opportunities. If I say no, it may mean I am rejecting this particular person and that they have some sensitivity and they feel for that person.

So by saying no for many people its a lot easier, but what are we actually saying no too? Because we are expanding our boundaries aren't we?

And by expanding our boundaries and people then know we are a "yes" person, often they will continually ask us for more and more, for assistance.

The challenge is that in saying no to someone else's demands we are possibly saying no to our families, to going home and spending some quality time with them, because I said yes I am needed to stay back at work longer, or perhaps travel interstate or overseas.

So the question is in being assertive is in "how do you say No"?

My encouragement in being assertive and being able to say no is to begin by:

- Pausing, consider what the person is asking;

- Relax, entertain the idea;

- Entertain what are the other priorities you have on at that time;

- If its appropriate and its not a priority in regards to what they are asking, look them in the eye and say

"No, but thank you for asking".

My son often has employed this technique, particularly at the dinner table, when we are offering him some extra vegetables, and turns to you with a delightful smile and says "Dad, thank you but no thanks, thanks for asking".

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