7 Good Reasons for a Leader to Learn and Use the Word NO

I hate disappointing people.

And every time I say the word “No,” someone isn’t happy with my answer.

That’s reality.

“Can you do a wedding—this weekend?”

“Can you speak at my event?”

“Will you write a guest post for my blog?”

“Can I have an hour of your time—today?”

“Will you mentor me?”

And so many more similar questions.

They are all legitimate questions. Usually there is nothing wrong with any of them as questions. And many times I say yes to questions such as these. Many times.

But sometimes I don’t say yes. I say no. And I personally think that’s one secret to my success in ministry and leadership.

And this post is to explain why. I’d love for some of my friends who know they can’t seem to say no to be inspired, encouraged and challenged to use the word more. In leadership—even though it is an unpopular word—it may be one of the most valuable words we use.

The fact is that I get far more questions like this than I could ever accommodate. Ever. There’s one of me. And one is not enough for the number of questions like this—questions that demand my time—that I receive.

I’ve had to learn the power of saying no. And believe me—I’m still learning—sometimes I do better than other times. And it requires discipline.

And learning the power of no also means taking the heat at times from the ones who disagree with my answer.

I’ve learned, however, that my failure to say no costs me far more than developing a discipline to not always say yes.

Here are seven reasons for a leader to learn and use the word NO:

Your family. We recently had our 87-year-old Pastor Emeritus talk to our staff. He was at our church 25 years and is still respected for his huge influence on our church. He admitted the way ministry is done has changed over the years, but one thing he wished he had known then and would encourages all of us still in ministry to do is to “protect the family.” He said that, looking back, it might have been more important than anything else he did in ministry. Golden wisdom!

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Ron Edmondson
Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.