“I know I agree to do too many things for others they really should be doing for themselves,” Annette admitted. “It is hard for me to say ‘no’ and I obligate myself to more tasks than I can perform.”
When attempting to influence others, as reported by Dr. Amanda Nimon-Peters in Psychology today, two principles of human behavior emerge. One, when given options, we chose the easiest path to meeting our needs. Two, many feel guilty when refusing a request.
When attempting to influence work peers, make it as easy as possible for them to respond. For complicated requests, appeal in small bites; and only ask for what you really need. Seek involvement of the other party with questions: “How should I handle this?” Make the request in person. Email requests are easier to ignore.
To avoid guilt associated with denying a request, consider responding with questions. “What are you trying to achieve?” “Have you checked with ____?” “What would happen if you skipped this step?” Offer another easier option for achieving the mission.
In short, make it easy for others to do what you want and hard for them to do what you dislike.