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How often do you overcommit yourself and your team?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 160,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each Tuesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How often do you overcommit yourself and your team?

  • All of the time. I never say “no” to any request of me or my team: 7.19%
  • Frequently. I usually take on too much work: 33.87%
  • Sometimes. I occasionally stretch beyond capabilities and resources: 54.29%
  • Never. I manage priorities and resources rigorously: 4.64%

Just say “No.” Forty percent of you are overstretching either all of the time or frequently. You think you’re choosing the lesser of two evils — either saying no or being stretched or doing rushed or shoddy work. The latter is much more evil. Sure, saying “no” is hard, but it’s much harder to revive a burned-out team. It’s harder still to recover from making errors or doing poor work because the team had to cut corners to get the work done. Prioritize rigorously and practice saying “Yes, if …” instead of “No” because that “if” helps you make a case for more time or resources to do the job properly.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”