The Art of Saying No: How to Decline a Work Request Without Feeling Guilty

The Art of Saying No: How to Decline a Work Request Without Feeling Guilty

Saying No can be a difficult thing to do at times. It doesn’t happen only at the workplace but in most of our daily activities. Sometimes you will be left with no option but to turn down date requests, money/gift offers, food offers, etc.

In the office, you might have a workload, you might even be resting after long work hours, and your colleague comes to you to help on an assignment because they feel you are more experienced. You just have to say no, even though it is not an easy task to carry out.

It is only natural that you feel guilty after turning down requests, especially if it comes from a close friend or colleague. Not to worry, this article will help you to say NO without feeling guilty.

Guidelines to follow while saying no to work requests politely

Deborah works as HR in an accounting firm. She is in charge of processing the payroll for every worker in her firm. Deborah got sick for some days and could not come to the office. She contacted Abdul to help her prepare and process some employees’ payroll. Abdul had his assignments but couldn’t say no to a sick friend. After all, Deborah would have helped him out if it was him that was in this situation. Abdul agreed to help Deborah out. Abdul had to rush his own assignments, depriving himself of quality sleep to help a friend out. At the end of the day, he made a mess of his task, did some payroll errors, and got queried at the workplace.

Abdul could have avoided these damages if he had just said no in a polite way, or better still, followed these guidelines below in saying no;

1. Give reasons why you can not grant their request

You must give honest reasons why you cannot grant their request. You do not have to be shy about it. Give them the details and make them understand. Let them see that you are honest; this way, they will not feel so bad about it.

Looking into Deborah’s story, if Abdul had been honest, he would have explained that he had many tasks and might be unable to grant Deborah’s request. Deborah would have sought other options, and maybe Abdul would have escaped being queried for making a mess of his assignment.

2. Give an alternative option

After making them understand why you cannot grant their request, you can recommend an alternative way to do the task. Let’s look at Deborah’s story; for instance, Deborah had to process some payrolls. Abdul would have recommended she suggest to the company that they subscribe to a third-party app like Earnipay for their payroll processing. This way, Deborah will be relieved of her workload even after she must have recovered from her sickness. Earnipay’s payroll product will help her process the payroll for each employee automatically without her being much involved in the process.

3. Recommend someone else for the task

Let the person know why you cannot help them with the task. Let them see your genuine reason for not being able to help out. After they understand, you can further recommend someone else for the task. You indeed will have more colleagues who will be happy to help with the task and are less busy. This way, you would have offered a possible solution to help them.

4. Do not say no until you’re entirely sure

You cannot just say no. You have to be very sure you cannot do the work. You cannot give a reason that will later be flawed in the future. You cannot say you have somewhere to reach and stay in the office throughout. If you have a meeting planned, you can make them understand you have a meeting planned. If the meeting did not hold, they would understand. You do not have to lie to them because you are scared of saying no. It could be a dangerous way to go about it.

Let’s wrap it up!

Saying no to work requests from colleagues can be challenging. Most people will feel bad after doing that, and sometimes it can affect their mood and translate to their productivity. Therefore, we must learn how to manage the situation.

You do not have to feel guilty if you have a genuine reason for turning down a request. You only need to make your colleague see why you cannot grant their request. You can further suggest other possible solutions to help them with the task. This way, they will understand that you do care and will see why you refuse their request.

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