‘No’ is a complete sentence.

I’m sure at some point in all of our careers we have struggled to say ‘no’. No to taking on that extra shift, no to taking on a few extra responsibilities, no to a social engagement that might just stretch our already depleted energy levels.

Do you feel that you need a reason to say no? That you should craft an elaborate excuse as to why you can’t give up your free time to do something you probably don’t really want to do? In fact, you are saying no. You are saying no to yourself. No to spending an evening with friends or family, no to reading your book, finishing that show, or no to just doing whatever you want.

Assertiveness training gives you an opportunity to learn the skills to say no (or yes in the right situation) and enables you to be confident to practice saying no without the nagging feeling of guilt of letting down the team, your manager, or your colleagues.

But here’s the bit we don’t talk about. How do you respond to hearing the word ‘no’? Employers, line managers, where is your training? Do you have the skills to hear the word no and not react emotionally? It’s not all about getting the most hours/work out of your staff anymore, it’s about creating an environment of empowerment that allows your employees or line reports to be honest and set their boundaries and have them be respected. It’s not easy to hear no. But it’s harder to say it. Don’t always ask the person who says yes. The person who maybe doesn’t have children, just because they’re more likely to say yes. Don’t leave your request until the last minute, give people time to respond. And above all, be prepared to hear no. Please be kind and don’t ask why not.

‘No’ is a complete sentence.

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