I have been noticing a trend in leadership lately. The trend is encouraging leaders to say “No” without guilt. I get it…we are all busy and great leaders have a tendency to over commit. If we don’t stay balanced, we are doomed to fatigue and fail. Yet, I am not sure approaching this problem of overcommitting by looking for ways to say, “No” is really the answer.
As leaders we are here to show the way, clear the confusion, and navigate the next steps. Think about it. Imagine if your child came to you and said she is failing in math, and needs your help. Her math is above your knowledge, you really don’t have time to help, and your focus could not possibly be in her best interest. Would you simply say sorry can’t help you or try to find the best way to say no without feeling guilty?
You figure out the best “Yes” you could find. She’s your kid!!! As a leader you’re in the same position. Your team and those who follow you are looking to you for help, advice, decisions, and problem solving. If you are in the position of trying to figure out how to say no, maybe you need to re-evaluate the position you are in.
Instead, stop trying to find ways of saying “No” and start finding ways of saying, “Yes”!!!
3 things you can do to say your best yes!!!
- Connect with as many people as possible
- Each person is a potential referral
- Each person you meet has skills you do not have
- Each person you meet offers a unique perspective
- Be a connector. You will come across people who need what they offer.
- Get contact information
- Keep accurate contact information
- When you meet a person ask what they do.
- Ask if they would be willing to be part of your network
- Tell them you often come in contact with people who could use their help
- Clearly define your yes
- Realize saying yes does not mean you are responsible
- Recognize your ability and availability.
- If you cannot personally be involved, connect them with someone in your network who can
As a leader I am constantly asked if I can help, teach, or inform. I am always willing to do what I can, exactly what I can. I define the help, information, or assistance I can give. When someone asks for my help and it is a request for something I know someone in my network is better equipped to handle I say, “yes I can help”. I put them in contact, or I personally contact the one who can offer the assistance. In that way I have been able to say, “yes I can help and here is the level of my help”.