How to say no to your boss

Source: The leader phrase book – PATRICK ALAIN

Diplomatic (highest)

  • Okay, but which of these tasks do you want me to finish first?
  • What about the other three tasks you’ve given me?
  • I wish I could help with this but I am tapped out at the moment.
  • Is there someone else you could call on? I have so many plates in the air right now!
  • If I say yes I’m afraid my work quality will suffer.
  • I can’t imagine taking on that much responsibility, sorry.
  • I wish I have five heads but I’m only one person, I’m afraid.
  • I’m not sure that your request is entirely reasonable, given how hard we are all working.
  • Two people used to do that job – can one person really do it alone?
  • I’d be happy to, as long as my salary is adjusted to reflect the additional workload.
  • Can we look into hiring someone else/an assistant?
  • I don’t think it’s right for you to pile all this work on me.
  • It may be within your authority to ask me to do that, but I don’t think it’s a smart move.
  • That’s not in my pay grade/part of my job description/something I am going to do.
  • Maybe you should handle that yourself.
  • Do you think you could handle that much work?
  • You’ve exceeded your boundaries, and I’d like you to stop.
  • I am going to have to object to being treated like a robot/slave.
  • This is completely out of bounds and I’m not going to stand for it.
  • It’s unfair to ask for something of your employee that you’re not willing to do yourself.
  • I’d rather not.
  • I am not your slave.
  • You’re not the boss of me.

Blunt (lowest)

The leader phrase book


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