Stop! In time say "no" with success: 7 tips for conflict prevention

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Many conflicts also arise because people do not simply express what they want, but the suppressed aggression smoldering in them until they explode. Often it would help to stop in time. accept. 7 tips.

No-tell-stop-time management

Here writes for you:

Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Work bee till late at night

A situation that may well be known to many: You are looking forward to your well-deserved end of the day, just want to pack up the things, then the manager stands in the door: “Could you maybe finish this calculation for tomorrow? It's really important!".

Colleagues are already all gone, need to find their family, other good reasons or the like. Only you do not fall into the fast no really good excuse. So they stay and devote themselves with clenched teeth and burgeoning rage of calculation. Instead of going to work, so another time to work late into the night.

Set limits - on time!

The Chef He is pleased with his working bee, but he does not suspect what he has done, he probably still thinks, they like to do that because they start working without argument. He is no different from you. In the meantime, you have long since been demotivated and are only doing service according to regulations.

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However, you are also to blame. Because you do not represent your rights and do not set limits in time, you prefer to work to the limits of your own performance - and then burnout is the result.

The fear of the consequences

But why, despite such obvious disadvantages, do many people have problems showing others their limits with a clear “no”? The answer is obvious: it almost always has consequences to refuse other people's wishes or requests. The other one could get angry. Or be hurt.

And it can be particularly uncomfortable in everyday professional life to offend colleagues. Not to mention the boss, with whom a “no”, so afraid, can quickly become a career killer. Quite a few people prefer to take the path of least resistance and do what is expected of them. In doing so, they avoid conflicts, even receive recognition and praise for their efforts, and the person relieved is happy.

Whoever is right to do it all to oneself is wrong!

But that can take a vengeance: Anyone who tries to please others will soon no longer be able to do their actual job well. In addition, the others quickly get used to the fact that the yes-man always does everything and rely on it. So over time it becomes more and more difficult to say “no”.

But nobody manages to do everything satisfactorily and that is exactly the problem. After all, according to a recent study by the RespectResearchGroup at the University of Hamburg, people have certain ideas about how competent and respectable people should be: namely trustworthy, reliable and fair.

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Said study by Niels van Quaquebeke and Felix Brodbeck with the title “Development and first validation of two instruments for recording managerial categorization in German-speaking countries” was published in 2008 in the “Journal for Work and Organizational Psychology”. It also shows that those who agree to take on a task and then fail to do so due to lack of time often disappoint bosses and colleagues more than if they had immediately refused.

The sound makes the music

This is also confirmed by personal trainer Tanja Baum, author of the book “The art of saying 'no' in a friendly way”: “Nobody can fulfill all wishes of the boss or colleagues, so that there is always sunshine - especially not in everyday working life. But if you take others seriously, put yourself in their situation and provide good arguments as to why you should refuse a request, you will usually gain understanding. ”

Therefore it is almost always better to say “no” clearly from the outset. However: the sound makes the music. Other people always want to feel that they are being taken care of. And especially those who refuse a request to their boss should remain friendly and give a good reason for the “no”. The art is to say "no" in a friendly but firm way.

Just say “no”: 7 tips

  1. No Lazy Excuses: "I would like to do this for you, but actually I still have to ..." If you respond to a request like this, you are guaranteed to annoy the other person. Because he doesn't know whether you have time or not and at the same time realizes that you just want to talk yourself out. Better openly and honestly admit that you don't have time - this is exactly the consequence that others will understand and respect.
  2. Well justified is already half won: Make it clear that you are not simply refusing a request arbitrarily, but that you have a good reason for your “no”. For example, show your boss how busy your schedule is, or use numbers to show what negative consequences your revision could have for the company. Do not fall into whining, but remain factual. If you show in this way that your "No" has been well considered, this also signals your boss to act responsibly. So you can score.
  3. Do not let the barrel overflow: Anyone who says “yes” all the time runs the risk of reacting incorrectly at some point before being overwhelmed. Instead of saying "no" factually, you suddenly become aggressive. Bosses and colleagues who are used to it differently are mostly upset because they didn't expect it. It is therefore better to signal in good time “Up to here and no further” so that the other person knows immediately where your limits are. And even in the greatest stress, you should refrain from accusations such as: "You always with your exaggerated demands ..." - the other person probably does not even know that he overwhelmed you all the time.
  4. Analyze exactly why you are overwhelmed: You feel overwhelmed by a request - but what bothers you exactly? Find out what makes you feel stressed and unable to stay calm. Maybe you're putting yourself under pressure or your time management is just bad. Maybe you find the suggestion of your boss or college completely absurd. In this case, clarify why this is required of you. Maybe you will find a better way together.
  5. Find a compromise: The one wants the other, the other the. There you must find a solution together. In practice, this means taking others seriously and putting them into their own situation. Look for similarities, not for differences. Work out where you both agree, find improvement opportunities and focus on your reasoning. Your boss or colleague then has the feeling that you are going to him. But also show consistently where your limits lie.
  6. Make suggestions for improvement: The boss wants you to do something for him. They don't have time, but they have an idea: “Unfortunately, I can't do this today. But colleague Schmitt is currently free. I can support him optimally in his project because I am very familiar with the topic. This way we all work much more effectively. ”Such suggestions make your work easier, but show the boss that you are constructively concerned about the well-being of the company. Important: Always choose an optimistic vocabulary when offering such alternatives.
  7. Prepare difficult conversations: Especially when it is not just about the small favors in between, it is sometimes useful to have a clarifying discussion about your task distribution. That should be well prepared: Prepare a strategy, collect evidence and arguments for your overwork. If necessary, practice your reasoning at home so that it is no longer difficult for you to say “no”. And ensure a positive mood before the conversation. As soon as you are agitated or aggressive, there is a risk of overwhelming others with unfounded accusations.

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