The Team Building Directory

Advice and information about all things team buiding

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Learn the power of ‘No’

Whilst leaders across the world manage to gain power by telling everyone exactly what they want to hear it leads us to think, is this really leadership?

There comes a time when being a leader requires, and possibly demands, that you have the courage to tell people the truths that they simply don’t want to hear. As we were taught by the film Yes Man, whilst saying yes to everything may seem appealing at first, it just isn’t practical or enjoyable in the long-term.

Leadership is a tough run and it can be lonely but this shouldn’t be counteracted by being too nice and saying yes to every request or proposal. When you tell everyone yes, you run the risk of wasting time on things that won’t benefit the vision of the business or help other members of staff.

Whilst it is important to learn to say ‘no’, there is a right way to go about doing this which will keep your staff motivated and not discourage them from being open with you.

  • Listen and gain more information
  • Explain why you said no
  • Be clear and direct in your response
  • Offer alternatives
  • Ask questions


22 years ago, Steve Jobs was embarking on turning Apple from a failure into the world’s most successful company. Whilst saying no, he asked questions and began to turn the company around.

“Focusing is about saying no. And when you say no you piss off people.”
Steve Jobs 1997



Is there something, or someone, that you could start saying no to?