3 Reasons to Say No, Without Losing Leadership Influence.

Every leader will struggle with saying no. If you haven’t yet, you will.  Every leader will struggle with the times especially when the ask comes from a senior leader and if you say yes, you create a huge amount of overwhelm, and immediately your yes, will become a no.

So why should every leader be prepared to say no at times. Let’s talk about three good reasons to say no, and how to do it without losing influence.

Reason #1: You have to say NO, when it’s the right answer. It will be the right answer when Yes, will get you over extended and you will not perform the task giving it your best.  Your whole heart will not be in it and your effort will show that your yes, should have been a no.

Many leaders come to regret saying yes, almost immediately and that will tell you you were wrong in saying yes. A healthy yes, won’t have instant regret or second guessing.  A healthy yes will be said with right motivation and focus. 

A unhealthy yes (that should be no) will be followed instantly with the question in the mind, “why, did I just say yes?” Ever had that? I have. Sadly I went forward with it instead of walking back to my senior leaders office and admitting I had said yes, when I should have said no.  I wound up burning the candle at both ends, having a terrible attitude and barely getting the task done in time and done with quality. 

Saying No, for the right reason will lead to greater influence because your yes will mean more when you say it. Your attitude and actions will be all in and it will show in the outcome. 

Reason 2: Another reason to say no, is when it impacts you or your family in a negative way.  If you are asked to do something where it goes against your priority of keeping yourself and your family in a healthy place, you need and should say no.  

I learned a difficult lesson a long time ago. I was on vacation (finally) and got a call from my senior leader who was asking me to take time away from my family to go do something for ministry. The pressure was turned up as he felt my resistance about leaving my family during my vacation. I valued my family, said they were my highest priority minus my relationship with God, and yet, here I was saying yes, to something that would communicate to my family the minstry came first. I should have said no, but I didn’t. I regretted it the entire time I was gone, my kids and wife, were not happy with me when I returned.

If you say you have priorities then hold them. Hold the line!  When you compromise them once, it will let others push you to compromise them again and again. (Trust me I know.) 

Reason 3: This was touched on in reason 2. If you don’t set boundaries and prioities you won’t have any boundaries or priorities of your own, they will be set by everyone else for you. 

I know it’s hard to say no to a senior leader or someone of influence but if you don’t set your boundaries and priorites other will for sure set them and they won’t be what or where you want them. Saying no is hard, but there are times you must.  

Some will ask, how do you say no? If you need to say no, don’t make it like a demand. Share with the person you are saying no to, that at this time the priorities and tasks you have require that you say no unless they can see someting on your task list that can wait longer to complete. (I never offer my priorities up to anyone. Those are set by me and my wife after much time with God.) I suggest that if I say yes, something on the list will get set aside until I complete the task they are asking for time.  If they see what I’m working on as a higher priority, in honor of their leadership I’ll stop what I’m doing and work on their task.  I have found in my experience that sometimes they can think of someone else equally as skilled to complete the task and hand it to them instead so I can stay focused on my tasks.  

The heart attitude for any leader is to serve their leader above them. If I can, I will. That was my heart attitude. But I also have to be truthful and if saying yes, costs me too much, I must say no.

I hope these are helpful, I’d love to know what you do to keep your life and leadership in a healthy place and pace. 

If you struggle and need help, I offer leadership coaching where I can help you reestablish your boundaries, priorities and build a healthy sustainable pace of leadership.  To learn more head over to KMCCoach.net

Here’s a great blog post about saying no from Carey Nieuwhof https://careynieuwhof.com/a-six-step-strategy-on-how-to-say-no-nicely/