Effective Team Communication: Saying No with Confidence

Effective Team Communication: Saying No with Confidence

Have you ever said ‘Yes’ when you wanted to say ‘No’?  It’s sometimes very tempting to sacrifice truth for compliance when our inner reality calls for a punctuated ‘No’. Selling ourselves short by withholding our wishes and desires impairs effective team communication. This interpersonal transaction is a bad one and clouds our dialogue with uncertainty and confusion.

Saying No

Here are some reasons why people say ‘Yes’, destroying effective team communication when they really want to say ‘No’.

  1. Guilt. Some feel guilty speaking up for themselves as though they don’t have the right to ask for what they need and want. Nothing could be further from the truth. Certain personality types are more prone to guilt than others.
  2. Fear. Some have a history of being punished for saying no. Even though they may have left their negative past behind, they are frequently still anchored to it. Their internal censor directs them to  with-hold their desires for fear of further punishment.
  3. Lack of skills. Some do not know how to be gracious when saying no and consequently they have a history of negative feedback when doing so. These are the people who say “I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut”. Unfortunately this is the wrong solution.
  4. Nice guy. Some involuntarily shift their focus to the other person and their own needs get lost as they give in to what the other wants. They hold a belief  that the other person’s needs are more important than their own. This is totally unreasonable and wrong, and creates miscommunication in the workplace. It is noble to be there for others but we cannot truly be authentic unless we have also attended to our own needs and wants.
  5. Self-consciousness.  Some are self-conscious, lacking enough self- esteem to state their position. Not only do we deserve the right to speak up for ourselves, we have a responsibility to declare it: yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no.

Saying no when this is really what we want, has a three-fold benefit. It honors us by paying attention to our inner wisdom which holds the key to our wants and wishes. It honors the other by removing the guess work from the relationship, allowing that person to give full attention to the facts. It gives definition to our sense of self in that it defines the boundaries that say, “This is me”. By saying “No”, I declare a position that you must respect if you want to relate to me.

So how do you do it?

Be aware of your wants and desires. Some people have suppressed their wants so effectively that they have lost the connection to their inner voice. This destroys effective team communication. There are a variety of ways to regain this inner link.

  • Journaling – a process of writing down your thoughts and feelings so you can allow wants and desires to come through.
  • Meditation – a time of quiet reflection where you listen to yourself.
  • Other practices – prayer, nature walks, music, creative endeavors where our defenses can be lowered and allow deep inner impulses including wants and wishes to surface.
  • Psychotherapy – if your wants are deeply buried, you may need to seek professional help to unearth them.

Claim your right to say no even if your brain wants to give in. This will promote effective team communication. Somewhere in your past someone ‘fed you a line’ about your self worth and you bought it. It’s your responsibility to take your life back by declaring your limits and assert your inner needs and wishes. Gradually push yourself beyond your comfort level and try saying no when you mean it. Choose a less intense issue to begin. Eventually saying no will become an important part of your relational toolkit.

Acquire skill training if you feel that the way you say no is offensive. Appropriate use of body language, voice tone and assertiveness skill steps can be learned, empowering you to exercise your limits with confidence, producing effective team communication.

If you want to be a good leader who always upholding effective team communication, then saying “No” is an essential life skill.  Take note of your boundaries and see if there is a blur in any area of your life. Clarity is the goal. Remember our boundaries define us. Without them, we are vulnerable to other people’s wants and wishes for us. If we take our cues from outside of ourselves and not within ourselves, we turn our moral authority over to others allowing them to run our lives. Honor yourself by saying no when your true answer is no.

photo credit: No (license)

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