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5 Reasons Saying Yes is Hurting Your Business

5 Reasons Saying Yes is Hurting Your Business

Yes is possibly one of the most harmful words we have in our vocabulary. It hurts our productivity and can harm our sanity. Let me tell you about Bob starting his business. He said yes to every request happily because he needed money to pay the bills. He was quickly full which was awesome. His problem is that he always said yes to everyone around him, even when it was for less money than he wanted to work. At the end of a few years he was still working all hours and was just making the bills. He wanted out but he just kept saying yes.

Saying yes to every possible client that comes our way seems like the right thing to do but in most cases it’s actually hurting your business and here’s why.

1. You’re not working on your strengths

I know we want to help people and we’ve been trained that we need to default to YES. Defaulting to YES does gets us doing work that’s outside of our strengths. If you’re best dealing with numbers and someone asks you for help to chair a meeting, is that really where you’d best serve the organization? Would you be more useful to them working with their books or logistics? Saying no to the opportunity with the board frees you up to say yes when an opportunity that suits your strengths comes along.

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2. You have no margin

If you’re always saying YES when someone asks for your help then you have no margin in your life. You end up with no room to say YES again. Friday is full with helping someone move. Saturday is some extra work for a client who convinced you to say yes to a deadline you didn’t really have time for. Sunday has an hour for the family but then you’ve got a bunch of other things to finish up. And so it goes.

If you’re always saying yes then when that really amazing opportunity comes along like meeting an industry leader on a plane who invites you join them for a dinner conversation, you simply have no more room and can’t say yes without disappointing one of the other people you said yes to.

3. Breaks your credibility

Back to my example from the first point. If you say yes to that board meeting it’s likely you’re not going to perform at your peak which will hurt your reputation as a peak performer. Even worse is when you realize that the job is so draining you simply continue and you back out. You’ve now become the person that doesn’t meet their obligations.

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4. Lack of boundaries

Just a few months ago a local business association was looking for volunteers. I was in the room as they made the rounds asking each person for time volunteering. When they came to my friend and I and asked I gave a simple no and they left it alone. My friend also said ‘no’ but see he has this problem with boundaries. It’s well known if you just bug him he’ll eventually say yes. So months later they kept bugging him (I didn’t hear anything) and he said yes and he hates the time he spends with them.

I’ve said no to lots of things and set clear boundaries which means the businesses locally respect my boundaries. My No is No and my Yes is Yes. Do you respect the business owners you know that have clear boundaries or the ones that are all wishy washy with what they say and do?

5. Your productivity is dead

It’s great to be the ‘go to’ person isn’t it. Everyone knows that if they need something they come to you and it gets done. But does it really get done well? What about the things that are really your responsibility? Are they getting done or do they get overlooked by you as you run around for everyone else? How stressed out are you with all this extra stuff to do? Isn’t your family getting the short end of the stick as you work all hours to try and possibly keep up with everything?

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Bill’s friend

Now let’s meet Bill’s friend, Bob. Bob also said yes a lot at first but something felt wrong to him about that. Sure he needed to get off the ground but then he started saying no to clients that didn’t meet his budget requirements. Then he started to say no to projects that didn’t look interesting. Then he started saying no to any project that didn’t meet his ideal client profile.

After a few years he was working with clients he loved on fun projects that paid well. While he has a few seasons each year that require a more time working, he also has many seasons where he gets to spend plenty of time with his family and doing other things outside of his work. Things that make him happy. He isn’t scraping by and he loves his work.

If you want to be like Bob, stop saying yes to everything.

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Featured photo credit: thematthewknot via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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