The right way to say "no"

05/30/2011 | Forbes

The best bosses stand out not because of the projects they approve but because of the distractions and sideshows they shoot down, writes Steve Denning. Still, saying "no" to every suggestion gets old quickly -- so try using more open-ended phrases such as "what if ..." and "let's explore ..." to close down dead ends without dismaying your workers. "With such a response, the leader is of course implicitly saying 'no', but the tonality of the discussion is very different: it is interactive and respectful, rather than dismissive and hierarchical," Denning writes.

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