Saying NO is not a Sin


I think, subconsciously every Indian born and brought up in India believe that nobody likes to hear NO as an answer.

Under the name of culture and a thought to be hospitable, we think NO is obnoxious. But the truth is, we complicate things and thereby indirectly end up in an unpleasant state both for us and the recipient.

When I say, we complicate, I mean it 200%. Let me give you an example, when I was attending one of my campus interviews, the interview went really long and at one point I was really tired and nervous. The person who took the interview asked me,  would I like to have coffee? Unlike a YES here which is supposed to be the usual answer by many Indians for any question, I said NO, thinking a sip of coffee would be impolite there. I bet this is what many of us would have done.

Professionally, this attitude leads to a lot of confusions, false promises and hopes, lack of quality in the output, pressure and stress. Let me throw some examples that are typical,

Scenario – Client asks the IT delivery management team – Will the project delivery happen on time?

Typical Answers – 1) Yes but …….. Blah blah blah ( if there is a but why was there a Yes in front?)

2) Absolutely on track. it’s a Status GREEN. (Really??? This answer usually comes even if the status is Amber. At times even when the project is Red)

After effect –

Project delivery didn’t happen on time.

Client never knew the real status until end and they are annoyed at the last minute surprise.

Too much stress taken and levied on the team which in turn affects them personally.

Scenario – Project Manager tells the team members – We need to stretch and work during weekends to achieve the delivery on time.

Typical answer ( by many) – Alright fine we will come (in spite of sacrificing many personal works; not even an attempt made to say NO)

After effect –

Stress levels increase sky high for the weekend workers

Leave about quality time with family, these guys hardly get time to spend with their family.


So collectively from both scenario 1 and scenario 2, deliverables quality is affected and clients are unhappy terribly.


A NO might have just made the client unhappy or unpleasant once.

A NO might have made your supervisor unhappy once

But hiding these two letters screws everybody ever.


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