Posts Tagged ‘saying “no”’

The pros and cons of being a People Pleaser!

April 11, 2013

iStock_000010736302XSmallDo you find yourself struggling to manage your time because you’re too busy running around after others?

Do you find it hard to say ‘no’ to requests for help/support and end up working late to catch up on your work?

A phrase I often hear from clients working on resolving time/stress management issues is:

“It’s because I’m a people pleaser, isn’t it?!”

Can you relate to this? There are often times when the motivation behind our actions is to help or please others, and sometimes this can have a negative impact on other things.

But being a ‘people pleaser’ isn’t all bad … it just depends whether or not you overdo it!

Here’s my take on the case for and against ‘People Pleasing’ …


Imagine you are starting a new job or taking on a new position, and you want to make a good impression.

This can give rise to a tendency to say ‘yes’ to several requests for help, advice, guidance, etc.

It can also be a great opportunity to showcase your talents and skills, as well as show everyone how good your ‘people skills’ are!

Even in areas where you don’t officially hold responsibility, you may have experience, and this can be another opportunity to:

  • help others,
  • build rapport,
  • establish your place as one of the team (as long as you’re not stepping on someone else’s toes!)


iStock_000018857374XSmallWithout keeping this in check you can become exhausted!

Not only are you doing things to help others, but you’re having to find time to do the things that you should be doing for yourself … leaving you very little time to unwind.

This can lead to stress and a feeling of overwhelm, because you can’t handle all the demands you’ve agreed to.

If you’re not careful, the following may also happen:

  • you gain a reputation as ‘the person who gets things done for others’,
  • you are taken for granted,
  • you feel guilty when you realise you can’t please everyone!


Saying ‘yes’ and looking for opportunities to help others should be done in moderation, whilst being mindful of the things that are important to do for you / your role.

Learn to say ‘no’ more often, and be confident that your team colleagues will respect you for who you are and for your integrity when you need to say no … not just for your willingness to help others.

Would love to hear your thoughts or experiences on this topic 🙂

IMG_0060 - Version 2I’m Debbie Inglis and I work with school leaders, team leaders and teachers helping them to be more effective and successful in their roles. Contact me to find out how I can help with any of the areas mentioned in this or any other blog post.

Call me on o1629 734101 or email:

Say “no” and be respected for it

February 17, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 17

Sometimes it’s hard to say “no”. We may want to, and feel we have a right to, yet we still find ourselves saying “yes” or “OK” and taking on the associated pressures as a result.

I’m going to put this in the context of work, for this blog, but some of the principles / tips can equally be applied out of the workplace.

Under what circumstances might we need to say “no”?

  • we already have enough on our plate
  • we have other, higher priority jobs
  • what we’re being asked to do is not our job / responsibility
  • we are not qualified (or not insured) to do what’s being asked

Perhaps you can think of more to add to this list.

So we know we sometimes need to say no, but why don’t we?

  1. we don’t want to upset or offend the person asking
  2. we’re not sure how to say no positively
  3. we’re afraid of what people might think of us
  4. we are afraid of the response we’ll get
  5. we might not feel we have the right to say no
  6. we’re indecisive
  7. we’re tired / stressed and it’s easier (in the short term!) to say yes
  8. there’s a lack of confidence to say no

Perhaps you have a favourite from the list above? Or have other reasons?

In my role of coaching / training in the workplace, the most common reasons I come across are the top 3 on the list, and the 7th.

Being respected for saying no involves acknowledging your own feelings and rights, whilst responding respectfully to the other person. It involves being assertive, standing up for yourself whilst not attacking or blaming.

Here are some top tips on saying no and being respected for it …

Tip 1 – Smile! When you smile genuinely whilst saying no it’s showing the other person that there’s no malice intended and you are being respectful of them

Tip 2 – Acknowledge their request whilst respecting your own feelings

  • “I appreciate you’re under pressure, and want some help. I’ll be able to help you once I’ve finished this.”
  • “Thanks for thinking of me, but I already have ______ to do”.

Tip 3 – Delay Experience has shown that if you ask the person to come back later, they usually find a way to resolve their problem in the meantime.

  • “Now is not a good time for me. But I can do (this afternoon / tomorrow)”

Often people ask you to do something as a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to feeling unable to sort it themselves. They can sound as if they urgently need help, but beware that this could be their way of getting things done by proxy!

Tip 4 – Stand your ground Be consistent with your responses if they persistently keep asking

  • “As I said, I’m unable to help you now, but you’re welcome to try me again in about an hour”

Having worked in a highly stressful environment for many years I understand that saying “yes” can be a good way to help each other, develop team spirit etc. But we need to know where to draw the line. If you’re the one doing all the giving, and this isn’t reciprocated, it can lead to unnecessary pressure on you, which has a knock-on effect on your own productivity levels.

Have you any examples of how you say no to your colleagues?

Have you seen others in the workplace effectively say no?

(Photo courtesy of jscreationzs)