Blog Post: Changing The View Of ‘Yes Men’

I’m a bit naive by nature, so I tend to be the guy you pull stuff on in the office. Always good for a laugh, I think my team’s favorite part of the day is when I walk away from my laptop without locking it. You want to inspire camaraderie with your group? Give them 10 minutes alone with your machine and see them truly work together.

I just wish I could say I did it on purpose.

Back to the naive part, it tends to make me a bit of a “sunny side” type of employee. Many times I have been taken aside by people trying to educate me on the countless number of people trying to take advantage of my idealism. I say “yes” a large amount of the time, which tends to make my sprints rather packed.

If you will bear with me, I would like to explore an unpopular opinion in today’s workforce.

Traditionally, I have come to understand that people think saying “no” a lot tends to give them power over their day. None of the articles I have read come out and explicitly say this, but if you get people used to you holding firm. That it will keep stress low and your day clear. In a sense, you are communicating that your boundaries are the most important part of your work.

It’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.

Recently, a couple of people told me that somebody “owned me” because I said yes to this individual every time they ask for something. I think that is a negative and damaging way to view working relationships (or any for that matter). Me trying to be accommodating or helpful doesn’t provide possession in any way. What it does is help keep the wheels greased.

I choose to think of the word “yes” as a powerful way to change mindsets. If I took the opposite point of view, I could be seen as difficult to work with. Instead, I would like to see the word “no” as a last resort. If my colleagues come to know me as a person who is a “yes man”, the times I have to say “no” mean I did everything I could and just couldn’t accommodate this time.

The moniker of being a “yes man” has too many negative implications. I say we take it back.

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