When Should You Push Back At Work?

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You never want to be the person who says “no” or push back at work. This is understandable as you want to get noticed by the management so that you will be considered when it’s time for promotions. As a result, you end up taking up any assignment that comes your way. You also never refuse to work overtime as that might disappoint your boss. However, it is essential to remember that sometimes you have to say “no” at work not to be taken advantage of. There are professional and polite ways to push back at work when doing something that will not be your best advantage. 

There are other reasons that you might have to say “no” at work as well. You might not be in the best mental state to take on more work, you might have something planned on the weekend the boss wants you to come in, or you might already have too much on your plate. Fact is, no one respects a people-pleasure and saying “no” sometimes can actually be beneficial for your reputation and career. 

But when should you push back in the workplace and say “no” to demands being made of you? Here are some instances when saying “no” is the right move:

Lack of Resources 

It’s never a smart move to refuse assignments because of low confidence. The possibility of failure should never be a reason to refuse any work. However, there are certain situations in which it is clear that you will NOT be able to do a great job due to a lack of some resources. In such a case, it is best to assertively say “no” and push back at work instead of grudgingly taking up the project and delivering a mediocre result, for which you will be judged harshly. 

For the sake of your career, you have to be selective in choosing your assignments and projects. 

stress management at work
When should you push back at work?

Unreasonable Timeline 

Another situation in which you should push back is when your plate is already full, and you won’t be able to reach the deadline for the new project. Before accepting any new work, it is essential to know whether you will be able to do it justice and deliver on time. Ask yourself if the given deadline is doable. Will you be able to balance the new work along with your already pending assignments? 

If you feel you won’t give the best results, it is best to say no and push back at work. Remember, your credibility and reputation are on the line. No one will remember that you refused to take on more work when you already had your hands full. However, they would remember if you took some assignment and bungled it.  

Unethical Request

Even if you always say yes to more work and overtime, there is one situation you might face at work in which it will be necessary to say no- being requested to do something unethical or illegal. In such a situation, you will have to be very firm and say “no,” or you could jeopardise your entire career

There will be some grey areas in which saying “no” would be the moral thing to do. Remember, it is vital always to make decisions that are morally and ethically sound. 

Saying “no” at work is never easy. We are all programmed to please people and avoid disappointing them.

Still, there are situations where it is important to push back and say “no” to certain demands and expectations. In fact, saying “no” in the situations mentioned above will help your career in the long run and win you the respect of your boss and peers. Which of the situations mentioned above have you encountered in your workplace? Were you able to push back and say “no”? Let us know in the comment section below.


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