22 Sep 2021 16:04 IST

A guide to uncommit gracefully

How to respectfully say no after you have already said yes

If you’ve agreed to something without pausing to think, or if you are spread too thin, realized you have a conflict, or whatever the reason might be, saying no after saying yes is never easy. You may worry that backing out will cause resentment or cause you to be perceived as unreliable and a poor team player. It is essential to uncommit gracefully and do it with tact and professionalism. The author offers six tips for the same:

Evaluate the opportunity cost: Consider the opportunity cost of passing up an opportunity. Withdraw only if the cost outweighs the benefits.

Change in mindset: Backing out does not make you unreliable. Over-promising and under-delivering does.

Diplomatic but truthful: Be direct, thoughtful, and honest, without over-explaining.

Value the relationship: Say thanks for the opportunity even as you decline. Expressing gratitude and ending on a positive note shows care and compassion.

Offer an alternative: Avoid leaving that person in the lurch. Introduce the person to a co-worker who can replace you or suggest different timelines for you to be able to participate.

Learn from it: Use this as a learning opportunity to build greater discernment around saying yes only to projects that excite you, and ones you have room for. Overcome people-pleasing tendencies while making decisions.

Read the complete story here.