Many of us have a hard time saying no to anyone, including those closest to us such as children, significant others, and good friends.
It’s not hard to understand why. We don’t want the people we love to get angry with us, and we don’t want to disappoint them either.
Unfortunately, sometimes a “no” has that effect.
When it comes to work, a “no” can mean the loss of the boss’ favor, or even the loss of a job. However, there are times when no other answer will do. (Pun sort of intended.)
Of course, saying no isn’t always as easy as this lists implies. Your boss may not accept your no readily, despite all the good reasons she should. So before you even say no (and here’s where the “mindfully” part comes in) prepare for your boss’ resistance, and:
Physical boundaries separate countries and psychological or emotional boundaries separate you from me, so that it’s clear where you end and I begin.
Psychological boundaries are both good and necessary for healthy relationships, including work relationships. Without good boundaries, lines get crossed and feelings get hurt, or worse.
For example, a boss who demands at the last minute that an employee stay late, unconcerned how doing so will affect the employee’s plans for the evening, is evidencing bad boundaries. Rather than considering the employee as a separate human being with rights and responsibilities, this manager is treating the employee’s time as though it were his own.
(Now, I’m NOT saying it’s wrong for a boss to ask an employee to stay late when there’s work to be done. Instead, I’m making the point that the dismissive attitude of the boss in this case is indicative of someone with little regard for what belongs to others—a classic boundary issue.)
And sadly, poor bosses typically demonstrate poor boundary management.
If you work for a bad boss, or even an overall good boss who’s nonetheless challenged in this area, you’ll be much happier if you learn how and when to say no.