Relationships at Work - Your Honest Guide to Building Workplace Connections and Avoiding Leadership Blind Spots.

Great Leadership Includes The Power To Say NO

April 11, 2024 Russel Lolacher - leadership and workplace relationship advocate Episode 151
Great Leadership Includes The Power To Say NO
Relationships at Work - Your Honest Guide to Building Workplace Connections and Avoiding Leadership Blind Spots.
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Relationships at Work - Your Honest Guide to Building Workplace Connections and Avoiding Leadership Blind Spots.
Great Leadership Includes The Power To Say NO
Apr 11, 2024 Episode 151
Russel Lolacher - leadership and workplace relationship advocate

In this episode of Relationships at Work, communications and leadership nerd (and host) Russel Lolacher illustrates the importance of saying NO and not always saying YES.

To be a great leader, we need to advocate for and defend our teams. To do that effectively, we'll need to be prepared to say No to our Executive, other business areas, other colleagues. Which is saying YES to team advocacy. Russel shares examples of YES statements leaders may use, the NO responses we should say instead, and the impacts of saying either one.  

If you enjoy the podcast, please subscribe and share with others.

For more, go to relationshipsatwork.ca 

And connect with me for more great content!

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Relationships at Work, communications and leadership nerd (and host) Russel Lolacher illustrates the importance of saying NO and not always saying YES.

To be a great leader, we need to advocate for and defend our teams. To do that effectively, we'll need to be prepared to say No to our Executive, other business areas, other colleagues. Which is saying YES to team advocacy. Russel shares examples of YES statements leaders may use, the NO responses we should say instead, and the impacts of saying either one.  

If you enjoy the podcast, please subscribe and share with others.

For more, go to relationshipsatwork.ca 

And connect with me for more great content!

Welcome back to Relationships At Work – the leadership mindset guide for creating a workplace we love.  I’m your host Russel Lolacher

I’m a communications and leadership nerd with a couple of decades of experience and a heap of curiosity on how we can make the workplace better. If you’re a leader trying to understand and improve your impact on work culture and the employee experience, you’re in the right place.

It's our weekly mini-episode,  a quick, valuable bit of insight to help shift our mindsets and improve our relationships at work in under 10minutes.

So for our R@W Note I’m passing on to you…  

Team Advocacy - Saying No Can Be a Big Yes

Have you ever been in a situation where your boss is representing your team at a meeting with executive, and you just know they are saying YES to absolutely everything thrown at them...

"Yes, we'll take on that project, too." "Yes, I think my team could do better." "Yes, we'll work through the weekend."

This is a boss that serves up. From their perspective, they are going along to get along. They believe that their role is to make their bosses happy, so they are agreeable and just let everything through. A green light to all the asks.

Sadly that might be good for that boss's career, but it also isn't leadership. It's literally where the term "Yes Man" comes from. (though it really isn't gender specific)

As a leader, we have to get comfortable with saying the word NO. Embracing those Yellow and Red lights, and not only the green.
 No to our colleagues. No to our bosses. No to other business areas. And then backing it up with why - context and implications. That is the mark of a leader and demonstrates advocy for our teams. Which only builds trust, loyalty and motivation (you know... those little things).

I’ll use those earlier yesses with a No filter:

-       Yes we’ll take on that project. 
 Becomes: “Sorry, no we’re currently at capacity for that deadline. If it’s essential, what will we stop doing or postpone to make this possible? 

-       Yes, I think my team can do better. 
 Becomes: “No, I’d disagree. The team is doing an amazing job in this and that. There’s certainly opportunity for growth and development. Where would you see us focusing further on?”

-       Yes, we’ll work through the weekend. 
 Becomes: “No, that’s outside our workhours and impacts their ability to decompress and refresh. I’ll check with them to see what’s possible and get back to you with a proposal.”

Of course every situation is different. And you may hear me say this things and think of scenarios where a YES should be obvious. Sure, I get that. But a YES should never be the default. This is an opportunity for a leader to be a leader, be a team advocate, and not an order taker. 

So we're all clear (cause you know how much I love definitions) let’s define advocate....
 ​/ˈadvəkət/ - a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.

A leader that only says yes, is doing a disservice to their team, executive and the organizations. They aren't working in reality, they are placating authority. 
Nobody can do everything all the time, and they shouldn't.

Saying yes, is:

  • Taking on more work then they can handle. That’s burnout.
  • Agreeing with team not doing good work when they might just need opportunities to learn. That’s being undervalued.
  • OK with working through off-hours. I hear disrespecting boundaries.

Saying no, is:

  • Advocating against unreasonable workloads.
  • Advocating with the reality of team challenges in mind and the efforts needed to overcome them.
  • Advocating for rest and boundaries to produce our best work.

This isn't about not delivering and pushing back on productivity. This is about protecting our teams, being the voice for our team, fighting for our teams.  

In essence, actually being a part of the team. 
 Rather than a cog in the wheel of productivity. 

Be a leader. Not a cog. One’s about human-centricity… the other is a cog.