There is a myth that we can have it all and we can do everything we want to do. For years this concept has been sold to us, but I’m not buying it.
A key concept in my leadership teaching is about time management. I ask everyone that I work with if they have too much time on their hands. It is almost universal that people are time poor and can’t find the time to do everything that they want or need to do. It follows then, that many of the time consuming, non urgent leadership activities that they should be doing, simply don’t get done.
The answer is realising that we simply can’t do everything and to even try is futile. What we should be doing is identifying the most important things and do them first. In his best selling book, ‘Essentialism’ Greg McKeown tells us that by saying yes to something, we are necessarily saying no to something else. We have to be OK with saying no to things, yet many of us say yes, and set ourselves up for failure.
Saying yes when we know we should be saying no is also not being authentic, another key leadership concept. Many of us find it hard to say no either because we want people to like us or we feel obligated or we simply don’t know how. Here are some tips on saying no more often.
- Say ‘I’d love to help, but at this time I’m overloaded and I really don’t want to let you down.’
- Ask when the deadline is and see if you can negotiate around the delivery date or time.
- Explain the current priorities on your plate, and ask which one is now not that important if you are to say yes.
- Stop wanting people to like you. Be OK that you being assertive is also you being authentic. Go for respect first and like second.
PS: Essentialism is a game changing book – it’s the best thing I’ve read in years!