Saying NO to your boss is okay, but be diplomatic about it

Saying no to boss is alright, but be diplomatic about it

One thing everyone needs to learn in their job is saying no to your boss, diplomatically.

Being responsible to your task is one thing and being a push-over is another. At work, you need not be a YES man always. There are time and place for everything. For one, saying no to boss’ idea that you are you would not end well is good thing to do before you set to work on it. However, as it is with everything at workplace, you need to say it in a very sophisticated way.

Saying NO to add more task to your list of responsibilities

9/10 of the time you are always up to your elbows in work so much that you wouldn’t have time or the bandwidth to take on other projects on your plate. In such cases don’t say no to boss outright, rather it would be more polite to ask him to help you with prioritising the list of task you are already handling.

This move will present you as  a person who knows what he is working on. And responsible enough to take on more work but at the same time helping your boss weigh what’s more important on your and what not. Given his full attention you might be allowed to de-prioritise few tasks and take on new projects.

Saying NO to an idea that deviates from the core objective of the project

Here you need to understand that saying no to Boss’ idea means hurting his ego which is never a good thing for you. Both of you know that the final decision lies in your Boss’ hand but you shouldn’t be a YES man just because fear losing your job.

Rather than saying that his idea doesn’t work with the objective you can say, “I get it where your idea is coming from, but here is another way to look at the current situation…” And end it with his permission of approval “Do you agree?”

With time your Boss would understand too that you saved both of you a lot of unnecessary effort.

Saying NO to work on Weekends or Holidays

Deadlines these days is like walking on a tight rope. This would naturally mean stretching over the normal work hours and sometimes even sacrificing your weekends or holidays to get the job done. In such cases if you are unwilling to work on weekends or on holidays, it is always better make it clear to your Boss in the beginning itself. So that there’s leeway then to plan and set things right. Saying no then wouldn’t come as a surprise or shock to your Boss then.

Have there been any other situations where you have managed to say no to Boss without him getting angry? Do let us know in the comments

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Avani Lalka is an experienced marketer, and a writer in the field of new-age marketing and career development. She writes from her heart to make a difference in the lives of the people that follow her. Currently she is heading Account Based Marketing (ABM) in a popular Pune-based startup. Feel free to connect her as she welcomes new ideas and opportunities. Email: