Find it hard to say no to your boss?
WHEN your boss hands out assignments at the start of the week, are you the one who says “yes” to everything and ends up being swamped?
“Whether someone is able to say ‘no’ is rooted in their personality structure,” notes Dr Peter Falkai, an executive board member of the German Association for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (DGPPN).
It mainly has to do with the person’s capacity for empathy, he says: “Saying ‘no’ entails disappointing other people.”
In other words, the more someone cares about other people’s feelings, the harder it is for them to respond negatively.
The inability to say “no” isn’t a bad trait in itself. On the contrary, a well-functioning society is one in which people are sometimes willing to shoulder other people’s work.
However, some people’s willingness to do this is extreme, which means they’re constantly taken advantage of. Are you one of these people?
To help determine whether or not you are, Falkai recommends imagining a three-legged stool. One leg stands for your job, another for your family and friends, and the third for your self.
“If your self is just a stub, the stool won’t stand,” Falkai says.
The question then is: “How do I grow my self?”
It takes practice, Falkai says. If a good friend asks you to mow his lawn for him, you might say, “Maybe, but let me check my calendar first.” This gives you time to consider whether the extra work is in fact too much for you.
If you train yourself in this way to occasionally turn people down, you’ll come to realise that it’s really not so hard after all – and that the people you say “no” to usually won’t hold it against you.
With sufficient practice, even the most inveterate “yes” people will eventually be able to say “no” when their boss wants to dump another assignment on them that they really don’t have time for. – dpa
The more someone cares about other people’s feelings, the harder it is for them to respond negatively, experts say. — SILVIA MARKS/dpa