Simple Tips to Boost Your Assertiveness at Work
Whether in personal relationships or in professional settings, being assertive is all about making your presence felt in a positive way. In other words, assertiveness is having the ability to stand for yourself and to express your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. It is about being able to articulate your desires and needs directly and truthfully while also taking into consideration what others have to say.
Assertiveness is not the same as aggressiveness, and it is the opposite of passiveness. When you take a passive stance in professional interactions, your thoughts and desires come second to those of others, which is not good because it could negatively affect your confidence and sense of self-worth. It could also cause your co-workers to treat you badly. It’s ironic, given that many people choose passiveness because they think other people will like them better when they choose this route.
Conversely, being aggressive means not taking into consideration the interests of others at all. Treating people rudely or disregarding their thoughts and feelings can cause the aggrieved individuals to develop feelings of resentment, anger, and mistrust.
As you can imagine, nurturing passive or aggressive behavior in professional relationships can have undesirable consequences. Assertiveness, on the other hand, is key to developing good interpersonal skills.
Professional help is available for anyone who wants to learn how to be more assertive at work. For instance, there are institutions that offer professional courses or training that will help you develop this very important skill. There are also things that you can do even on your own. Here are some things that you can try on a daily basis in order to cultivate the habit of being assertive.
- Learn to listen – As part of an organization, you don’t operate alone when it comes to addressing challenges and tackling opportunities. Instead of presenting your ideas as the only impeccable approach to these challenges and opportunities, always consider what your colleagues have to say and what they can bring to the table.
- Be in the moment – Building on the idea of listening and paying attention to your colleagues, you should also demonstrate your preparedness to be present in every interaction. Aside from genuinely listening intently, learn how to recognize cues in personal and electronic exchanges, maintain eye contact when you’re speaking with another person, and maintain good bearing when you are dealing with your colleagues, no matter their position in your organization.
- Take a firm stand on things that matter to you – When it comes to things that you really want or those that really matter to you, learn to be confident in expressing your thoughts. Recognizing that your ideas might not be perfect while at the same time acknowledging the good points of your vision helps you contextualize your own weaknesses and strengths.
- Be willing to face difficult issues – In a professional environment, you are sometimes forced to face issues which you might be uncomfortable with. Show your colleagues that you are capable of handling challenges by not trying to elude them. If you’ve made a mistake, be responsible by facing the problem head on. Demonstrate your willingness to make amends and to learn from that error.
- Learn to say no – Some people are reluctant to say “no” because they want to avoid conflict or because they think it’s a sign of selfishness or weakness. However, you should keep in mind that knowing how to set boundaries is essential to nurturing healthy relationships at work.
Given that you interact with people in your workplace every single day, learning how to be assertive is an absolute must. It allows you to articulate you desires and to act in your own best interests without stepping on other people’s toes and denying them of their own rights and desires.