3 ways to say no when your boss comes with even more work

01 January


Why is it so hard to say no to your boss?

When I was still employed, I worked at a company as an executive assistant. I was preparing for the shareholders' meeting. And in all the hustle and bustle my boss comes to me with the question if I want to type out 20 more sheets for the PowerPoint presentation.

The meeting was due to start in an hour… Actually I wanted to say: you couldn't have come with that a bit sooner?? You've known for months that this meeting is in an hour, haven't you?

Of course you don't want to give the wrong impression at work. And saying 'no' to your boss is a bit difficult.

On the one hand, you want to have a good working relationship with your boss, but on the other hand, it would also be nice if you could set your limits once in a while.

Here are 3 ways to say "no" to your boss

1. The “In a moment” way

Suppose you are already busy, and then your boss comes with something that needs to be dealt with. You can then say: “I'm very busy right now, I'll get back to you in a moment” You don't say no in the end, and you create some time for yourself to consider whether you really have time for this or you could come up with a good reason not to do it.

2. The "You tell me" way

Imagine your boss wants you to do something right now. But you are super busy, because you are working on a deadline. “You tell me” can help you in this situation.

Explain what tasks you still have to do and ask your boss what needs to be done first.
This gives your boss an idea of the amount of work you have.
He/ she can see for himself which task now has priority.
And secretly you put the problem with him/her.

3. The “Not now (but tomorrow)” way

Suppose your boss asks you to work overtime. But that doesn't suit you at all. That evening you have an appointment with your friends or you want to go to the gym. How do you say no?

The “not now” way offers a solution. "I really can't tonight, but I could stay a bit longer tomorrow." The “not now” way offers you in a subtle way the opportunity to set your limits.

By using these 3 methods, you avoid being seen as an assertive pitbull when you want to say no. Saying no is hard as it is, especially for the ladies who read this blog.

My goal for you by using these methods is that you have some influence on your situation and you can meet your needs at the same time. Good luck with trying the 3 ways and let me know how it worked out.

Deel je ervaringen en lees die van anderen!