How saying no can further your career (assertiveness skills)

Posted on 5th September 2018

A lot of us want to be able to “do it all”, “achieve all” and “be accountable for all” don’t we? We thrive off being told that we’ve done a great job or to be seen to be doing a great job. There is a deep desire in us to be viewed as a hard worker and to be liked by colleagues.

At the end of the day, most people need their job to support their lifestyle and sometimes we feel the need to prove our worth due to fear of losing that stability. It’s normal and its okay to feel that way.

However, exhaustion and burnout is, and will remain, lurking around the corner (and under your desks!) until the time comes when it feels you’re at your most vulnerable, then it’ll jump right out at you. Most of us realise when we are feeling this way, however, we still struggle to set boundaries for ourselves.



In a recent CMI insight, it stated that managers in particular are working an extra 44 days unpaid, per year. That’s an additional 330 hours (approximately) based on a 7.5 hour shift. I don’t know about you, but I am imagining what I could do with 330 hours in my personal life. A lot! This restoration time is so important for our minds to work clearly and logically, making sense of information. Yet it’s often stolen by extra tasks, additional responsibilities and so on.


How to say no

When saying “No” to something or someone, it doesn’t have to feel or come across as harsh as you think. Trust me when I say that this has been a huge learning curve of my own.

Many of us are conditioned from an early age that saying “No” is a bad thing. But really, in the ‘adult’ world it’s all about managing expectations and being assertive in order to be your most efficient self.

So, if you need to say no, say it. It doesn’t have to be a resounding no. Instead you could advise of when you can complete that particular task. Or you can ask another for assistance, or even delegate.


Need a hand?

Within the Gateway HR & Training office, saying “No” and explaining why or asking for help is okay, and it should be within your team too.

There are many different ways to develop assertiveness skills. We’d love to help you and your team sharpen up on your skills for a more effective workforce. And of course, employees’ personal development!

So, get in touch with us to talk about our Developing Assertiveness Skills training days, which can also be found on our website.

Charlotte Batchelor Character
Written by:
Charlotte Batchelor
HR Adviser