We’ve all faced a “No” at some point in life. Whether by a family member, potential significant other, a higher education institution, or…..in our workplace.


Rejection at work doesn’t just happen when you don’t receive a job offer. It can happen day in and day out by a co-worker, a boss, or a client.


Sometimes it’s worth it to push and try to get your way. Other times, its best to pull back and re-evaluate. But what if you’re the individual doing the rejecting? Keep reading to learn about each situation, and how you should handle it.


When to Push

Deciding when to push and when to pull back is all about reading the room. Assess the individual and the situation. If this person is a co-worker, it could be worth it to say to them that you respectfully disagree, and maybe you both should bring in a third party to receive an outside opinion. Then, talk to an additional co-worker or your boss and get their perspective. Note: This is not an argument nor is anyone “winning”. You are simply receiving the perspective of someone outside the situation.

You can also push if you have empirical data backing up your reasoning. You should only push against a leader if you have this evidence. Otherwise, you can come across as disrespectful or unable to take instruction. And if you do provide evidence, be positive that it is accurate. You are already taking a risk pushing against their decision, you don’t want to embarrass yourself, or worse, cost yourself your job, by arguing with false data.


When to Pull Back

While pushing for what you believe is correct is important, sometimes it’s a better career move to pull back. If you are in a disagreement with a co-worker and a third party has sided with them, you should recoil. Typically, you have one shot to push. After that, you need to pull back and accept the circumstance. Otherwise, you will start to be seen in a negative light.

Also, if you disagree with a leader, but you do not have any hard reasoning to back up your opinion, you need to pull back. They are in a leadership position and you are not. It is disrespectful and inappropriate to argue with them when you have zero data beyond simply how you feel.



What If You’re the Rejecter?

So, what if you’re the person doing the rejecting? First and foremost, try to see the other side. In the same way that you believe you are right, they believe they are right too. And both of you want what’s best for the company. If they have evidence that backs up their thoughts, don’t hesitate to look it over and consider changing your position. Don’t be so arrogant that you make a poor decision simply because you want to be “right”. Keep the interest of the company as priority.

Secondly, be kind. This individual has shown great courage by vocally disagreeing with you. Even if you are correct and they are wrong, take a few minutes to calmly and kindly share your reasoning. Now is not the time to puff your chest. In fact, the most powerful thing you can do is be thoughtful and understanding.


While rejection can be difficult to take and even to give, there are ways to navigate through it. While rejection can hurt, we must remember that in a professional setting, they are not saying no to you, they are saying no to what you are saying or offering.

Start learning your personal style on responding to rejection by practicing the tips outlined for you.


About Debi

Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.


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