Let’s face it. It’s hard to say no; especially to the important people in our lives, like our spouses, our children, even our co-workers and bosses. But taking on too much will not only make your life more stressful, it will also increase the chances of you dropping the ball, missing a big deadline or making a mistake that could be costly to your property management business. If you are like many of us who struggle with guilt over turning people away, here are a few tips for knowing when and how to say ‘no’ confidently, respectfully and free of guilt.
The first step is determining whether or not you can comfortably take on another task. To figure out whether you should say ‘no,’ ask yourself the following four questions:
- Do you realistically have the time it will take to complete the task at hand?
- Is it possible to complete the task without allowing your present workload to suffer?
- Can you easily organize your current schedule to fit the new task?
- Are you really the best person for this task?
If the answer to even one of these questions is no, then you should not agree to take on the task. This is where – for many of us – things get tricky. After all, turning someone down can easily be taken as confrontational or result in being perceived as uncooperative or unwilling to help. But in reality (especially in a chaotic industry such as property management), saying yes to everything won’t help anyone.
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So, what’s the best way to deliver the bad news?
Say it in person
If possible, let the requestor know face to face that you can’t be of assistance, rather than via email or other electronic communication. Not only does this eliminate misunderstandings or possible misinterpretation of tone, but it’s just the right thing to do.
Be honest and forthcoming
Don’t just say ‘no.’ Follow it up with realistic reasons why you simply cannot agree to take on the task at hand. For instance, if you’re up against a tight deadline, let the person know what’s on your plate.
Offer other options
If you can’t complete the request, offer to help find someone who can. This will demonstrate your willingness to help without having to take on more work than you can handle and the person requesting your assistance will appreciate you going the extra mile.
Show your appreciation
Out of everyone who works in your property management firm, the person requesting your help chose you. That means he or she trusts you to get the job done right. Even if you are unable to assist, it’s important to let them know you appreciate the gesture.
If you do all of these things and you still get pushback, or if the person asking you to help happens to be a higher-up that you can’t comfortably say no to, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance of your own. Sit down with your manager, a trusted colleague or your mentor and go over your current schedule. Ask for help prioritizing your workload so you can better manage everything that’s on your plate.
Saying ‘no’ isn’t always easy, but if you take the right approach, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. In fact, not only will having the courage to do so make you a more efficient, productive worker (which is better for your property management company as a whole), but it may even earn you a little more respect from those around you.