Leadership 101: When You Should Say No and Mean It


Leaders spend a better part of their lives helping others grow and build capacity, sometimes to their own detriment. Saying No is an important part of learning to be a good leader. Here are some instances when you should say no and mean it.

Join our Business Achievers community and get access to downloads to help your business, free online training courses and network with members to help grow your business.

Leadership and mentorship experts advise taking a huge break occasionally to rest and recover your energy. Saying no is healthy and necessary once in a while. It is a tool every leader should know when and how to use.

Here are instances when you should stand your ground and give an unwavering no as an answer…

When it hurts your family in some way

When you are met with a decision that might put your family in harm’s way or put a strain on your relationship with them, it’s okay to say no. Do not make decisions that will hurt your family or remove that last line of defence they hold.

When your career is on the line

Avoid granting or receiving favors that can put your job on the line. You may not easily find another one that will offer as much satisfaction. As a leader, that might not only mean your career but that of others. Stand your ground.

When it is detrimental to your health

Health is wealth, they say. That cannot be any truer. Take vacations occasionally. Forget about everything else and rest. That public speaking gig can still hold without you. Learn to say no to anything detrimental to your health.

Recommended reading: Tips For Avoiding Burnout at Work

When it soils your integrity

As a leader, you live by example. Your life should be one your kids and contemporaries will be proud to emulate. When you face a decision that can soil your integrity and legacy, be unwavering in your refusal.

Before you follow up on that tempting offer or lead, check if it will lead to anything you will not be proud of.

When it can affect your future negatively

As a leader, you should always consider the bigger picture. Be watchful and consider how today’s decision will affect tomorrow’s comfort or happiness. If you face an offer you are convinced could affect you adversely in the future, even in the slightest of ways, turn down the offer.

Go through the contracts you sign carefully. Be wary of the partnerships and relationships you form.

Recommended reading: How to Become a Better Leader

When it can break your spirit

Strong will and focus are values every leader should have. You have to be strong not only for yourself but also for your followers and family. To an extent, their happiness and future depend on you. Your company might suffer if you lose your fighting spirit. Do not take jobs that can destroy your spirit.

When it can affect your country

Patriotism is one reason you are as privileged as you are today. Our predecessors stood firm while making tough decisions and some even sacrificed their lives for their country. A silly decision can kill the dreams of thousands of people. You may not get rewarded or noticed, but it still counts. Do not betray your country. Say no and stand firmly by it when it matters.

Every leader should know when to say no and master how to say it diplomatically. While advancing your career, be conscious of your decisions and the way they change everything around you.

Act right, lead right, and live right.

Over to you now. Have you had an experience of having to say no as a leader? Tell us in the comments below. 


Related Posts



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Saturday, 16 November 2019
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Member Login

Business Insights & Tips


Jill Holtz
2325 Points
Tena Glaser
1395 Points
Michael Lane
802 Points
Ron Immink
732 Points
Fionan Murray
721 Points
View Leaderboard