How to say NO to the boss

Jul 21 2008 by Print This Article

Sometimes your boss just has a dumb idea. Of course, if you are like so many modern workers, you probably believe this happens more often than not. But how do you explain to someone who has control over your job and career that they're just wrong?

Maureen Salamon, writing for, explores this tricky issue.

According to PhD., Susan Lawley who is a career life coach, and cited in the story, "I think the synonym for no is 'Yes, but...' Such a response creates goodwill and sets boundaries on terms that work for both sides. It's a beautiful middle ground that safeguards what you promise to deliver, but you don't have to say 'no.'"

One of the tips is to get to know your boss. There may actually be managers out there who want to hear the word "no." Others may respond better to a different approach where that word isn't used. What kind of boss do you have?

Another suggestion is that when the answer just has to be "no" you should take the time to prepare your argument with your manager. Why is the answer "no?" You need to be able to explain and defend your position and be prepared to do so in a way that doesn't offend anyone.

Finally, learn to be bold. Those who are bold are those that stand out and that can lead to career advancement. By learning to do it tactfully, you can become a rising star rather than a troublemaker with a target on your back.