Assertiveness and speaking up can be a HUGE challenge at work. It’s even harder if you’re female or from a minority, statistically. Knowing that isn’t always enough though – becoming assertive can help you be a stronger communicator, grow your confidence, help garner respect, and ensure your opinions are heard and considered.
With all these perks, it’s easy to see how assertiveness can make your job easier and much more pleasant. These advantages carry over into your personal life, too!
Luckily, you don’t have to be charismatic or have an outgoing personality for assertiveness to work for you. Anyone can become more assertive! It just takes practice. Like anything else, the more you practice it, the easier it becomes!
Learn why assertiveness is important in the workplace and some easy actions you can take on a daily basis to become more assertive.
What Is Assertiveness?
There is a difference between assertiveness and aggression, with some people confusing the two.
Assertiveness is more about stating what you want or need, but still being considerate of the wants and needs of others.
Being aggressive is more about what you want, regardless of how anyone else feels. Those who are aggressive are often described as being pushy or as a bully – not something you would aspire towards.
Ways to Become More Assertive
Practice these techniques to become more assertive at work:
- Recognise your own value. The first step for getting others to recognise your value is to acknowledge it yourself. Always remember that you are worthy of the best that life has to offer!
- Body language – Walk confidently. When you come into the office, stand tall and keep your head up. Make eye contact with others and smile. Avoid slinking or looking down at the floor.
- Greet others. When you make eye contact and smile, greet your coworkers. Tell them, “Good morning,” and say their name. Compliment something about them, make a positive personal comment, or ask them about something that you know matters to them.
- When people feel like you notice and pay attention to them, they’re more likely to look upon you and what you want favourably.
- Create boundaries & enforce them. Others treat you how you let them. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
- Volunteer to lead a project. When you’re in charge of group tasks or projects, others get used to listening to what you have to say and doing as you ask.
- Lead by example and avoid asking others to do things that you wouldn’t do yourself.
- Match up tasks to each person’s strengths.
- Encourage each person to share their ideas and opinions.
- Be grateful for each person’s contributions. Tell them, “Thank you!”
- Share credit with the group members for the successful completion of the project.
- Sit at the front during meetings and speak up. Even asking questions works well. This includes Zoom or Skype meetings. Participate fully.
- If you want or need something, ask for it. Speak confidently and let others know what you want or need and how they can help. Once you’ve followed the previous tips, others will be inclined to give you what you’re asking for.
- Offer your opinions, ideas, and solutions. Use first person (I want, I feel, I think). You can start small at first, if that’s easier for you, by commenting on smaller things like what to do for lunch. Offer an opinion instead of just going along with what anyone else says.
- Learn how to say no. Saying yes whenever you can is great, but sometimes a request might cause you hardship or make your own work late. Explain that you would like to help out, but you’re already rushed to finish your own project on time, or whatever it is.
- At times like this, it’s important to say no to protect your own integrity. They will understand.
- Help others. Help your coworkers whenever you can. For example, if they’re rushed on a task, volunteer to help them finish it. They will remember this when it’s your turn to ask for help.
- Show someone how to do something. Teaching others can help them tremendously. This will gain you respect from your peers.
- Plus, explaining things to others is an easy way to get used to speaking up.
Being more assertive at work will make your job so much easier! Practice these strategies each day and soon you’ll notice how much easier it is to speak up and get more of what you want more often!