Stop Saying “Yes” When You Need to Say “No”
One thing we hear from a lot of leaders is that their stress levels are through the roof. Over the years, too many executives and managers have become “yes” people, agreeing to do anything and everything that remotely relates to their realm of duty. But truly effective leaders know how to self-regulate. They say “yes” only when the item is vital to their leadership responsibilities, and they say “no” to anything that isn’t. They know how to delegate trivial matters to others whenever possible. As a leader, you should know that moving things off your lengthy to-do list and onto a to-delegate list will give you more time to focus on our priorities, and that can go a long way toward eliminating unnecessary stress.
Keep these simple tips in mind while making the transition:
Give yourself permission to change.
Many leaders struggle with change, particularly if it goes beyond our comfort zones. This can also be true when you’re trying to delegate tasks which have previously been your responsibility. You may feel yourself resisting any attempt to learn new systems and new habits, but to improve efficiency, productivity, and results, you’re going to have to change. The short-term difficulties are well worth the gain if you trust that the effort to change will be worth the results. Do yourself the favor and don’t fight change! Go ahead and give yourself permission—if you don't do it, who will?
Drop the guilt around delegating.
When it comes to delegating, there’s no reason to feel bad about giving people additional responsibilities. Just be sure that you also provide them with the resources and necessary training to perform the task well. In fact, we’ve found when a boss challenges their people in this way, employees feel more invested and valuable. When supported and held accountable for new responsibilities, employees are pushed to grow — and that makes them feel empowered. In the end, it leads to greater motivation, productivity, and, eventually, results. In fact, your people might be more motivated than you ever were at that task! Let go of your guilt, and learn to see the value of developing and empowering your people in this way.
Use your free time to focus on YOU.
Burnout is an epidemic in the corporate world. We see it all the time, and we’ve watched it impact a leader’s personal and professional health. When you start saying “no” more often, you find more time on your calendar for other activities. Use that extra time on yourself — get your overdue health checkups, go exercise, attend meditation classes, and plan time for family fun, your favorite hobby, or a few simple hours alone. Turn inward and use those precious minutes to restore and revitalize you.
What are some things that you can start saying “no” to right now?