Leadership is Constant When You Say “No”

January 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

A good friend of mine has a saying that goes something like this:

‘”No’ is not a four letter word and not every need has your name on it”

This gets at our need to be needed. As leaders we want to help people, be of service, always available, the Shell Answer Man for all. Nothing could be more wrong. “No” is a choice, and choice is an expression of our freedom, our deepest gift.

But what happens when we feel like we can never say, “No”?

We give up that freedom and transfer it to others.

Most often, out of our need to be needed, we end up taking what is not ours to take. Out of our need to be needed (and liked!) we finish a report for someone,  write an email, have a conversation, and by doing so reinforce the fact that I am here to bail you out of your responsibility, that way if it doesn’t get done, then it’s my fault not yours.

Rather, we need to say, ‘”No, I am not going to call Jane and explain to her why you missed a deadline, if you’d like to talk about what you’ll say to Jane I’m happy to do that, but the call is yours to make.” Now we are treating people as adults not children and reinforcing a behaviour that exhibits personal responsibilty for what is ours.









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