Saying “No” is Powerful

As difficult as it seems to be saying “no” is an essential skill. The value of declining opportunities, invitations, and even clients is an invaluable asset to anyone. 

Saying no garners respect.

When working for and with others I have learned that declining people is powerful. It is powerful to let people know when they have not been successful in terms of a promotion or a hiring process. The person receiving the decline has often thanked me for being transparent with them in providing feedback. These same people have often stayed in touch and have utilized my services. That indicates a respect for the work done and for me as a person.

Declining opportunities frees up your time.

I have worked with a number of people who say yes to something and then spend their time complaining about the increased workload. When presented with an opportunity that you think you may want – think it over carefully before you accept. It may not be what you want at this point in your life. It may have been appealing at one period and now it is not. Saying no to something that you no longer have an interest in frees up your time and energy for a project or situation that does. Give yourself the permission to say no and reap the reward of time for what fits for you to show up.

Regretting social invitations may be to your benefit.

At one time or another each of us has accepted a work-based social invitation that has been frustrating at best. It has been my experience as a manager at these events involving those that I work for and those who report to me that not everyone is on their best behavior. Interacting with a co-worker or colleague who is incapacitated or angry at a social function is less than desirable. For myself I make it a practice to show up for a brief period usually the formal portion of the event. After that making my regrets and leaving is a priority. The people I work with know me in a professional context. An early departure allows integrity to be upheld for me personally and for my colleagues.

Learning to say no is a powerful game changer in life and in business.  It has certainly served me well.

Marie-Helene Sakowski,

Soft Skills Are Essential

Working with hiring managers in several different industries including mining, safety, manufacturing, and health care the one common denominator for skills from the Executive Suite to the labour pool has been soft skills. Yes – soft skills – those skills that require having good to great people proficiencies. Most managers agree that technological skills are taught in higher education or learned on the job. Soft skills on the other hand are a learned behaviour that is not typically taught in the workplace. They require adaptability and flexibility. These skills are particularly important in times of uncertainty and in areas that are murky at best.

The skills most in demand in the area of work are conflict management, critical thinking, dependability, priority management, problem solving, or creative thinking. Employers need people who communicate, that means answering emails and messages, and who are able to think outside of the issue meaning using their creativity to solve a problem or a situation.

Employers also need people who have a high degree of emotional intelligence, meaning the maturity to address and manage a situation staying present to the circumstance and staying calm. Along with maturity being approachable, flexible, adaptable, resilient, and able to work within a team environment harmoniously are also part of the essential soft skills package. Being able to pivot and address what is next leads to mastery of these skills further enabling a person to engage and influence others. 

People who are resilient are typically curious and willing to try new things. It is speculated about 70% of working people want to be told what to do and do that over and over again. Enter the need for curiosity, and the ability to generate plans as processes unfold.

Having great soft skills allows for decoding or analytic skills. Unpacking systems and processes are essential. Using critical thinking skills is invaluable in terms of putting all of the puzzle pieces together into a logical framework. It is also valuable when it comes to unearthing details overlooked by others.

Reading people and communicating is an art that is developed. Having empathy and being able to see people as they are, is requisite for leaders and managers. Focusing on what others want and need and then being able to communicate that is beneficial.

The people who have these essential soft skills are able to lead with confidence. They know when to act and when to slow things down until the timing for a change or process is more fully aligned. They are able to manage stress and they have patience.

Having a work ethic in terms of being present to the situation, with a willingness to learn something new is part of having well developed soft skills. Lastly engaging in business behaviour that mirrors truthfulness, has integrity, and is transparent are also important aspects of the soft skills toolbox.

Marie-Helene Sakowski,

Keep your Personal Power at Work

Allowing others to have a negative influence over the way you think, feel, or behave robs you of your psychological and emotional strength.  It also derails the objectives and goals you have for your business and personal life.

Working in HR and Operations puts you in line for constant feedback as to what is or is not going well in your area of accountability.  Part of what you do entails empowering other people.  It is equally important to maintain your own personal base of power to boost your overall success.

Following are a few tips to keep your personal power in the face of adversity or resistance.

Keep your personal boundaries in place.

Often you hear more about what is not working than what is.  Avoiding resentment of those who try and take up your time on issues that may or may not be important is a function of maintaining clear boundaries.  Let people know when they can air their grievances small or large.  Then hold them to that by bringing the focus back to the purpose of the meeting or discussion.

Maintain Your Goals and Objectives

A great many variables change during day-to-day operations. It is important that you maintain the overall objectives despite the changes that occur.  It may be tempting to overlook aspects relating to budget, productivity, or morale.  As the one in charge you are responsible for the outcome.  Stick to the goals and objectives as that serves everyone in the long term.

You also get to decide how to spend your time. No one forces you to go to work, see the dentist, or attend that family gathering. As an adult, you get to make the rules.

Allow Others to See the Best in You

Succumbing to anger or resentment has a direct impact on the changes you are out to have happen.  Voicing concern is okay and certainly beneficial.  Be the change agent and let others bring out the best in you even when things have not gone as expected.  When you are firmly grounded in your strengths you know you are capable of addressing each situation with integrity.  That is crucial for others to see.

When people note that your mood does not center around their actions or behaviors you have a powerful impact on them.  That is where empowering others has an impact. Maintaining your personal power in the face of adversity or resistance is beyond positive thinking.  It is a commitment to yourself to having your goals and objectives accomplished despite the outside stimulus around you. 

Marie-Helene Sakowski,