The Word that Defines Great Leadership

In hopes of being a great leader, we often feel the need to say “yes” to every opportunity, challenge and new task presented to us. However, as we to evolve into an optimal authority at work, we need to learn to also embrace the word “no.”

Power Behind “No”

While always agreeing to everything can feel good, it can also lead you to take no challenges that are misaligned with your career, the task at hand and your priorities. With a limited number of hours in the day, it is important to prioritize what is truly important to stay focused on the final goal. Even the most successful business chiefs know that leadership means saying no is a necessary and often freeing step. It is important to know when and how to decline politely and appropriately.

1.     Competing Priorities

If taking on this new assignment would distract you from completing the work you have in front of you, this may not be the time to take on this new task, especially if it would result in missing a preexisting deadline. Missing your designated deadline could impact the impression of your competence and ability.

2.     Your Health and Balance

Another time that saying no would be considered acceptable and appropriate would be if it would affect your health, wellbeing or work-life balance. Staying healthy with a balance of work and life can be a significant component of your ability to grow and thrive at work, so if taking on another function would interfere with that consider if this is the best fit. If taking on this task would require a significant sacrifice of how you live a healthy life and recharge, declining may be the best long-term choice.

3.     Value Composition

When the hairs on the back of your neck tingle from the proposition of a new endeavor, listen to that intuition. It is important to consider politely declining any opportunity that you feel would contradict your morals. Especially if there is a crime or unethical choice involved, considered the long-term implications and graciously refuse the offer.

4.     Big Picture and Stepping Backward

When planning for your future, consider options that align with that vision. Leaders consider the larger picture and what choices best fit into that. If the task is redundant and not the best use of your time or if you feel that it does not fit well into your long-term, finding a way to cordially turn down the offer may be in your best interest.

Saying “no” can be one of the most powerful words within the realm of leadership, however, this requires practice and may not come easily. Consider taking small steps to make proper refusals feel more natural.