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Learning to say no

In this article, the author demonstrates the benefits of saying no.  It reminded me of a very successful former colleague, who stands out as someone who sets herself very clear goals and then focuses her gimlet-like gaze on achieving them - and achieve them she does.  And it's the fact that she has that focus that enables her to succeed.

Like the author, when I had corporate roles in organisations my tendency was always to say yes in order to be helpful to both my boss and others, even when I didn't really want to.  But on reflection I realise that my efforts were rarely appreciated and that taking on new task adversely impacted on my effectiveness.  If you have a please others driver, it's even harder to say no.

I think this is a particular problem for HR leaders too.  If the CEO isn't sure where some new function sits, be it CSR, environmental issues or risk management, because these impact on people and necessitate changes to their behaviour, they often end up with HR.  Big mistake!  Do colleagues in Legal, Finance or IT willingly take on these compliance-type issues?  No they don't.  They know where their strength lies and stick to it.  Since I started my own business, I find it much easier to say no, because I am very clear where my strengths lie, what I enjoy doing and what I don't.  OK, so it's my business and I don't have a boss to keep happy, but like Steve Demaio, the author of the article, I notice a real difference in how I feel about what I do.

So, HR leaders, take a leaf from the book of colleagues in other support services, experiment with saying no and be very clear what HR needs to focus on to demonstrate its value.

There's another take on saying no here (scroll down to the bottom of the page).


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