You are already loaded with a heavy work schedule when your boss calls you in their cabin and assigns you some new projects to work on. What can you do in such a situation? Can you say no to your boss? Not many would be willing to say no to their boss, unless they have lots of money in their bank account and don’t mind losing their jobs. However, since chances of such bank accounts are rare for the salaried class, it’s better to consider other alternatives. If you are sure that you won’t be able to do the task your boss has assigned to you, it would be appropriate to take a diplomatic approach rather than saying no outright. Here’s how to say no to your boss without appearing to be lazy or rude and without losing your job.
Ask boss to prioritize your task list: If you say “I don’t have time”, it will certainly come across as rude. Your boss is unlikely to take it lightly and it may impact your chances of promotion and appraisal. The diplomatic way to deal with it is to show your task list to your boss and seek their help in prioritizing the task list. Your boss must have given other tasks to you, so they can surely tell you which ones are top priorities and which ones can be rescheduled. This way you can get more time and focus on tasks that are top priority.
Suggest an alternative way to get the job done: Your boss has asked you to do a task in a particular way, which you feel is not going to work. However, you should not say so directly, because that would tantamount to undermining the capabilities of your boss. What you can do is seek permission from your boss to present a new idea or an alternative solution. Also, mention it to your boss that “with your guidance, the new idea or solution can be implemented with good results”. This way, you can lead the situation without being rude to your boss.
Suggest another team member to shoulder the responsibility: There may be some tasks that you just don’t want to do. However, since saying no outright is not an option, you have to deal with it diplomatically. When you are sure you don’t want to do a task, you can request your boss to give it to someone else in the team. Give proper reasons, for example, you can say that assigning the task to someone else will allow them also to learn new things and acquire new skills. When you give rational and logical reasons, they are bound to be accepted by your boss.
Your ability to say no to your boss also depends on your relations. If you have good relations with your boss and your boss is happy with your work, then it would be easy to convince your boss. In comparison, if your relations are not so good, then it could be a problem to say no to your boss. Keep these factors in mind when you are dealing with tough situations. When you have to say no to your boss, always do it in a diplomatic manner, so that nobody gets hurt and work is not affected.