June 5, 2023

Richardson Column in The Free Lance-Star

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson’s weekly column in The Free Lance-Star discusses people who aren’t approachable in the workplace. Read DO YOU HAVE A ‘NO’ FACE OR A ‘YES’ FACE?


I recently heard an impactful story. Perhaps it might touch you.

Thomas Jefferson was traveling by horseback with a group of colleagues. As they approached a river, they met others at the river who were on foot. The river had overflowed its banks and the current was swift. To cross the river was going to be a bit dangerous.

A lone foot traveler approached President Jefferson and asked if he would take him across. The president agreed immediately and the man climbed behind him on the horse. They safely crossed the treacherous river.

Afterwards, another person asked the lone traveler, “Why did you ask the president of the United States to take you across the river?” The man, with a shocked look on his face, admitted he had no idea that he had asked the president of the United States. “All I knew,” he said, “is that on some of your faces was written the answer ‘no’ and on some of them was the answer ‘yes.’ His was a ‘yes’ face.”

Do you have a “no” face or a “yes” face?

Think about your workplace. Are there people you interact with who are no-face people? I’m guessing there are more than a few. They tell you, with their facial expressions, not to approach them. And if you must approach them, you know if you have to ask them to do something, the answer will be no. Read more.