When to Say No and How to Say Yes

All day long, the asks keep coming at you from every direction—from your boss, your direct reports, from your sideways and diagonal colleagues. They come from out of the blue from somebody you’ve never even heard of. Or from across the table in the middle of a meeting. Maybe they come by email, even in the middle of an endless reply-all email thread. Or in a text or instant message. Or someone pokes their head into your workspace.

For every ask, the answer, at the core, is either yes or no. Often, the answer—yes or no—is simply not within your discretion to make. The decision has already been made—implicitly ...

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