The word “no” may seem minuscule, however we must recognize its enormous significance in the workplace, both positive and negative. The diminutive, two-letter command is among the most powerful in any business vocabulary. The mere mention of “no” can cause huge ripples – a shiny red stop sign in the middle of an otherwise fluid flow of traffic. Bam!
“People may hear words, but they feel your attitude,” said John C. Maxwell, author of the bestseller The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. For example, when “no” is verbalized in a cantankerous tone, it can quickly increase anxiety. I read a study that reported just seeing the word in print releases a flood of chemicals into the bloodstream causing near-immediate changes in behavior.
Don’t get me wrong: A well considered “no” can be justifiable. Other times, however, it might be the result of not clearly comprehending a question, or simply taking the swiftest path to finality. But understand that saying “no” can take conversations to a complete standstill.
It’s important to acknowledge that at least some pride of authorship is attached to every idea presented. (This may be particularly true for your younger and/or less-experienced employees.) That’s why turning “no” into “know,” as in grasping the rationale behind a negative response, is critical to the process. It can also be a productive opportunity for the employee’s growth.
Gandhi said: “A ‘no’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”
Employees who understand the ball won’t always bounce their way might actually be more successful in the long run.
“My job is not to be easy on people,” said the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “My job is to make them better.”
The power of “no” can be sweeping, productive, and all about the execution.
President and CEO
President and CEO Robbie Briggs independently owns and operates Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty with offices in Dallas, Fort Worth Cultural District, Fort Worth-Mira Vista, Uptown, Lakewood, Southlake, The North, Ranch and Land, Ranch and Land West, and The Ballpark. Visit the Best Neighborhoods Site in DFW.