How to Say No To Your Boss

Building a career is harder now than ever. We live in an age where to succeed; we have to be available at all hours. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops mean employers can contact their team whenever they want and need to. This “always on” lifestyle is great for your boss, but it really sucks for you. 

You need and deserve a work-life balance, but are you getting one? If workplace competition has you scrambling to answer that What’s App message when you should be enjoying dinner, then you need to take a stand. Yes, your job means a lot to you, but is a promotion worth sacrificing your happiness? It’s time you learn how to say no to your boss. 

I Can’t Say No…Can I?

It’s funny how two little letters can instill such fear in us, but people really hate saying “No”. Once upon a time, your boss was a mere employee like yourself. Maybe they’ve forgotten that, or feel they paid their dues so why shouldn’t others? The key to refusing a request from your boss is to be calm, tactful and offer a reasonable explanation. 

The Reasonable Excuse 

Say your boss asks you to mentor a new employee, but you don’t want to. Now anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that telling their boss they don’t feel like doing something isn’t a good idea. So, how do you handle it?

Ask your boss if the two of you can sit down and have a conversation. Once you’ve got their full attention, ask them if it’s possible for someone else to mentor the new employee. Talk about the projects you’re working on at work, and how they need your full attention. 

Offering a reasonable excuse and tying it to your job role is a lot more understandable than bringing your personal life into the equation. 

Offer An Alternative 

Sometimes, your boss will ask you to stay behind to work on that important contract, but you’ve got plans. Now, you could just say “No sorry, I’m busy”, but that won’t do you any favours when bonus time comes around. 

Offer to go in for a few hours at the weekend, or stay behind one evening. If you can complete the work at home, then say you’ll make up the extra hours. You don’t have to cancel your plans and you’ll keep your boss sweet. Win-win for everyone! 

Be Gracious 

When someone asks you to take on extra work, it’s because they know you can do it. Saying no seems harder now doesn’t it? A great way to divert your boss’s attention away from your refusal is to show them your gratitude that they considered you. We all love a bit of flattery and your employers no different. 

Be Assertive 

When we say be assertive, we don’t mean storm into your boss’s office and shout “no” in their face – that’s the fastest way to join the unemployment queue. However, finding another qualified employee who’s willing to help will impress your boss. Instead of giving excuses, you’ve solved a problem which shows you’re willing to pull your weight. 

Know Your Place 

Remember your boss signs your paycheck and makes the decisions. Acknowledge this when to speak to them! We’ve all had a difficult boss, but most employers are reasonable as long as you respect them. If your employer is unreasonable and chooses not to listen, then maybe it’s time to move onto another role! 

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