How to Say No To Coworker Requests

If there is one thing that makes work more stressful than it should be, it is your coworkers not pulling their own weight. One way they can try to make up for it and hide their lack of productivity in the workplace is by asking you to help with their unfinished tasks. While you may be tempted to say yes in order to avoid looking like the mean office shrew, this can come at a price. Taking on the duties or responsibilities of others can add unneeded stress on you at work and that stress can even spill over into your home life, so it is important to say no. Unfortunately, some people can find that harder than they thought. Below are 4 tips on saying no to a coworker’s request.

  1. Be polite. Although you plan to tell your coworker no, there is no reason to be mean or rude about it. That may only serve to worsen the situation. It is important to be polite. And say something like "I’m sorry I couldn’t help you out".
  2. Explain yourself. Although you have every right to tell your coworker no, you may choose to tell them why you can’t help them out, so they don’t think you are doing it to be mean. Of course, this is not required of you.
  3. Stand firm. Once you have made a decision and informed your coworker of it, it is important to stand firm on that decision. If you crack this time, they may expect you to every time you tell them no.
  4. Expect some resentment. Manipulative people try to do whatever they can to get you to bend to their wishes. After all, they don’t want their lack of productivity in the workplace to be revealed and there may not be anyone else willing to help them out. At first they my simply sulk, and then begin to make snide comments or talk about you to other coworkers. This is something that you should expect and prepare for, but don’t fall for it or lower yourself to their level and get defensive.

Above all, remember that it is okay not to be liked by someone whose goal is to take advantage of you. Many times, people don’t say no to a coworker’s request because they want to be liked at work. It is okay to help coworkers who legitimately need an extra hand, but some people will take advantage of your kindness in order to hide their lack of productivity in the workplace.

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For more great information on handling this problem that can also help you increase your productivity in the workplace, check out the best selling book 4-hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss.

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From the Desk of Damen Choy.
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One Response to How to Say No To Coworker Requests

  1. Dee says:

    This is great advice. I am going to use this advice today because I just know a coworker is going to ask for help again!

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