Saying No

“Does leadership come from a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?”

Despite it being the difficult thing to do, a leader must be able to stick up for what is right by saying no to what is wrong. So often people follow what they are told without questioning it. When an unethical leadership takes place, a true leader must find the courage to say no.

It is more difficult to say no than yes. It is uncomfortable and can cause more controversy than if one was to just go along with the norm. By saying “no” a leader can inflict a change. In so many historical situations, leaders said no to oppression and injustice which created a change for the rest of time.

One of the most well known examples of a historical figure saying no is Rosa Parks. Byrosaparks122way saying no to a white passenger on the bus, she became a symbol in the modern civil rights movement. Rosa Parks said no to segregation and discrimination because despite all the risks and consequences that followed it. It would have been easier for Parks to say yes as many people had before her, but by saying no she has become a figure that will have changed society forever.

Not all movements need to be this big, we all have the power to be leaders in our daily lives through saying no.  When you see wrong doing you have the power to make a change. Do you walk away and do nothing? or do you say no?

Many people are afraid of conflict, which often comes along with the use of “no”. An ethical leader knows how to handle conflict effectively. As important as it is to stick up for what you believe, it is also important to evaluate the why. Why is this wrong? Why should you say no? A leader must evaluate what will occur as a result of their actions and how to they will inflict a change on an issue. It is important to remember that as a leader your work is never done. Saying no begins a movement, but continuous effort and passion must take place to make an actual difference.


By saying no a leader has the power to inspire a group to make a change. It relates back to idea of the power of one. As everyone else is following the norm, it only requires one to speak up to spark a movement.

At Central Michigan University, the campaign “Spread the Word to End the Word” has large popularity. CMU students passion for the campaign shows the campus power to come together and say “no”. To put down the use of negative and hurtful words demonstrates the positivity and movement that can be created from saying “no”.

I believe that at this time, in society, we need to say “no” a little bit more. With all the changes in politics, culture, and social norms, we not only as leaders, but people, need to put an end to hate. Say “no” to discrimination, injustice, and “yes” to progress.



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