CHAPTER 10

How to Say No to Taking On More Work

by Rebecca Knight

Sometimes you have too much on your plate or you’re just not interested in taking on a project you’ve been asked to work on. You might not have a choice in the matter, but if you do, how do you turn down the opportunity in a way that won’t offend the person who’s asked you? How can you avoid being labeled “not a team player” or “difficult to work with”?

What the Experts Say

For most of us, saying no doesn’t come naturally. You feel lousy disappointing a colleague, guilty about turning down your boss, and anxious denying a client’s request. “You don’t want to be seen as ‘no person,’” says Karen Dillon, author of HBR Guide to Office Politics. “You want to be viewed as a ‘yes person,’ ...

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