When everybody else in the room is saying "yes" too readily, it's up to the boss to be the voice of negativity, writes Art Petty. "Saying 'No' is the last line of defense against group-think," he warns.
Sometimes you have to say "no" to your employees' requests, whether they be for vacation time, a promotion or the freedom to pursue new ideas, Jaimy Ford writes. You can help your employees deal with rejection by being confident in your answer, setting out policies in advance, explaining your reasoning and looking for ways to say "yes" in the future. "Let employees know that you can revisit their requests or ideas down the road when conditions improve," Ford writes.
When dealing with customers and their problems, remember that the situation is not about you personally, and keep smiling no matter what happens, writes Michael Hess, founder and CEO of Skooba Design. Act quickly, and try to say "yes" in every situation. "Saying yes to even half of what a customer asks for has a shot at making him happy; saying no is guaranteed not to," he writes.
Leaders shouldn't try to solve every problem themselves, writes Mary Jo Asmus, and taking a step back and refusing to take on extra responsibilities is sometimes the only way to do your job effectively. "Saying 'no' is an option you need to exercise regularly in order to focus on what's most important. The feeling of freedom you get from it can be powerful," Asmus writes.
Good bosses say "thank you" to their workers often and with real sincerity, writes Art Petty. Expressing gratitude for a job well done is a quick way to motivate your team and show them that you're aware of their hard work, Petty explains. "Saying 'thank you' is one of the simplest forms of showing respect and one of the most powerful forms of letting your team members know that you are watching and that you genuinely care," he writes.
Sometimes we feel obligated to fulfill someone else's request even when we would rather not do so, but this is a mistake, according to Royale Scuderi. "Saying 'yes' when you really want to say 'no' is a major stressor for your mind and body," she writes. Additionally, saying "no" allows you to make more time for truly important tasks and to save your energy.