I get that having a positive work environment makes things much more productive and tolerable for those involved – I’m a coach, and live this all the time with my clients. A large part of what I do is help clients create that positive environment to flourish. What I don’t get is the misconception that in order to create that positive place, everyone has to be a yes man/mam kind of person.
I was talking with a client team a few weeks back about my No Initiative blog series, and one person commented that she thought saying no was negative. She says, “We need to keep a positive work environment – saying no sounds so negative.” Well, she had a good point! Saying no can have negative connotations, but in retrospect, saying yes can have an even larger adverse impact to a team or project.
Consider a situation in which you are in a meeting discussing a new project, and instead of doing your due dilegence in understanding the full scope of the project (budget, timelines, priority, scope) you and your team agree (say yes) to managing the project. After a few kickoff meetings, you realize this project is way out of scope and budget, and your team can’t possibly be successful in delivering on-time with out negative impact to other strategic deliverables you have. How would the current situation look if you had said no in that first meeting? By saying NO, and asking more questions to fully understand the project, you might be in a better position to set things up for success. Having that ability to say no in a “safe” environment without retribution creates that positive and collaborative place where a team can thrive and be successful.