How to say "no" (without alienating people)
And why cutting back on "busy work" is key to performing at work
Welcome to the next phase of Lead with Intention!
As I wrote in my last post, today marks the first day of a new and improved substack from me to you. I’m calling it a micro-coaching service.
Every Thursday morning, I’ll deliver a practical, focused email to you, packed full of leadership insight and tips you can use immediately in your role.
This will be a paid for substack. For just £5.00 or $5.00 a month, I’m sharing some of the tried and tested leadership frameworks, tools and approaches I’ve used successfully in my 20 year corporate career, and now as a leadership and careers coach.
Along with four practical and transformative coaching emails, I’ll also be holding quarterly live sessions for group coaching, as well as hosting giveaways and book clubs. If you’re looking for impactful leadership and careers advice, this is the most cost-effective way you can access qualified coaching insight, resources and tips. (And when you’re ready for more focused, in-depth coaching, I offer one-to-one programmes.)
I know you’ll get value from this. And I know these tips work. So let’s get into it shall we!
Today’s leadership lesson: How to say no
Ever heard the term “busy fool”? I bet you have. Chances are, you know one or, gasp, may even be one! And no, I don’t think you’re foolish… Far from it. But you probably haven’t ever got to grips with the idea of saying “no” to requests at work.
I used to be like you. Working in Corporate Communications, it’s easy to be seen as a helpful "delivery service", there for any needs any staff member may have.
Need a poster? Go to comms.
Want to send out the new canteen special? Go to comms.
Need someone to walk around the hospital doing a charity collection? Go to comms.
None of that actually helps the organisation reach their desired outcomes through effective communication and engagement. But it’s a busy distraction that can soak up all the time you and your team have. And you like to be helpful, right?
Being helpful has nothing to do with saying yes to every request. It’s more helpful to identify and prioritise the actions that will add value and move things forward.
So today I’m sharing an approach that will help you say “no” to things that don’t add value, so that you can focus on the things that do. It’s an essential skill if you want to perform, and lead, better.
The secret to saying “no” well lies in courageous conversations, clarity and curiousity. These are all essential attributes of the modern leader by the way.
The advice (a five step approach) and how it works
To mark the start of this new phase of Lead with Intention, I’m offering all free subscribers a 7 day free paid trial to say thank you for sticking with me. All you need to do is hit the button below and enter your card details - you’ll then get this email free of charge. When the 7 day trial ends, you can then cancel at any time without penalty. I really hope you’ll upgrade to paid at the end of the trial period, as going forward, free posts will be semi-regular. (BTW, if you want more from me for free, I’m on LinkedIn, X and TikTok, but the real meaty stuff will be here in the substack.)