Did you know that being assertive is one of the best things you can do for yourself both at work and in your everyday life? This is because an assertive attitude will help you grow as a person and open you up to more opportunities for promotion and expansion in the workplace. The executives will begin to notice your “take-charge” demeanor, and they will see it as a sign that you are ready for bigger and better things. If you are someone who is shy and timid, you may find yourself being passed over time and again for important projects or positions. Here are some important steps for the fearful and hesitant as they begin their journey toward adopting assertive behavior.
1.) Practice your newfound assertive attitude in the places you feel most comfortable first. Try being assertive at home with your family, at the grocery store, at church, or at your child’s school. Being assertive with the people you already know very well will help you build your confidence as you practice your new attitude. You’ll gain the respect of those closest to you, which will give you the assurance you need that you can go into your workplace and do the same thing. You can even ask your friends and family members to help you practice assertive speech and behavior and get feedback from them before changing your behavior at work.
2.) Take some time to build your confidence. This means that it’s best not to try to suddenly become assertive with your boss or your co-workers. You will need to ease yourself into this new way of being. If you make too many changes too soon, you won’t come across as believable, and people will dismiss your new attitude as moodiness or a phase that you are going through. Instead, start by being assertive with one problem or situation at work, and build your confidence from there. Encourage yourself with each small victory so that your confidence will slowly begin to increase.
3.) Don’t allow yourself to be concerned with what others will think of you. Those who have been allowed to push you around in the past or have been happy with your docile behavior at work may not react well to your newfound assertiveness. Don’t give in to your fear of not being liked or a fear of being seen as a troublemaker in the workplace. When people figure out that this is not just a passing phase, you will soon begin to gain the respect of the people who work with you.
4.) Gather all of your evidence and facts before you assert yourself. When you are asserting yourself in any situation at work, you want to ensure that you have everything in order. For example, if you are asking for a raise, you need to make sure that you have all of the evidence that justifies that raise. If you are asserting that you have been wronged in an argument, you need to make sure that everything you are saying is 100% true and correct before presenting your side of the story. Asserting yourself without having the facts straight will make you look mean and overbearing and people will be less likely to take you seriously.
5.) Stop apologizing for everything. Never apologize for speaking your mind on something or asking for what you deserve. If a coworker wanted a position or project and you got it instead, do not apologize for your accomplishments. If you have to bring a negative situation to your boss’ attention, don’t apologize for that either. This does not mean that you should make it a point to be rude or insensitive, or avoid apologizing when you come across as mean or unfair. However, don’t feel that you have to apologize for simply having a different opinion or doing something better than others.
6.) Don’t allow people to mistreat you in any way. Speak up even when it’s your boss that’s mistreating you. Don’t give others the liberty of interrupting you when you are speaking or dismissing what you have to say because they don’t want to hear it. When you are passed over for a promotion or project even though you know you’re best qualified to do the job, make sure that you say something about it (after finding out all of the facts, of course). If you are owed something (like a raise), go after it with your assertive attitude. If you allow yourself to be a pushover, people will always treat you that way. An assertive attitude will get you respect at work.
7.) Take initiative in the workplace. Assertive people are best able to get promotions because they take the time to show their bosses why they should be at the top. Don’t be afraid to present ideas and concepts to the higher-ups at your job. If you see that there is a problem to be solved, then take it upon yourself to find a solution. Being assertive means going to them with the best solutions – not waiting for them to come to you.