While a friendly and welcoming manner can be important in business, you often need to make sure that you’re being assertive at work – and here’s how.
Assertiveness at work – what is it?
It’s not always easy for managers to remain assertive without either going too far, being too aggressive, or not being in control at all. So, how can you be more assertive at work?
Being assertive means being direct, confident, and in control at all times. This can apply to a wide variety of situations and being able to say what needs to be said no matter how uncomfortable, whilst also knowing to accept when you’re wrong and admit that without fault, can be rewarding. There are many benefits that can come with having an air of assertiveness at work – which is why it really is worth taking a closer look into.
Assertiveness has a perfect balance, allowing you to communicate calmly without backing down. This is a far better option than the more common alternatives; making a point angrily, or not speaking up for yourself at all.
Even if you consider yourself to be a shyer, meeker, or more anxious person, there’s a good chance that you can learn, practice, and apply assertive communication both at work and in everyday life. All it’ll take is a little time and effort to learn how to communicate in an assertive manner and you’ll find that over time it’ll become far more natural to you.
Why is it important to be assertive at work?
Overall, there are a wide variety of good reasons why it’s best to be assertive. Whether it’s in the workplace or not, there are simply so many benefits that can come with this style of communication.
Usually, individuals will find that assertiveness will help them to better express themselves, boost confidence, and earn respect – as just a few points. Being assertive can even help to reduce stress, which is another great factor to consider if you’re got a lot of work on your hands.
Most individuals will find that there’s so much more that they can enjoy by simply being a little more assertive at work too, so really, it’s not hard to see why you should consider practicing it.
Taking matters into your own hands with work-related issues can often be essential, too. For example, if you know that time management is an issue, use a tool like Work Time Tracker to ensure that you can keep on top of things. Little acts of assertiveness are generally going to go a long way in helping you at work and showing others that you’re serious about your role.
This applies to a variety of managerial jobs, too. You can use your authority to help make the business run as smoothly as possible, as well as use your empowerment to help employees to feel more comfortable in the workplace. For example, you could improve your leave system with an app like Leave Management System, allowing your workers to get a break when they need it.
Ten benefits of being assertive at work
While we may have briefly explained some of the benefits earlier, there are many more that you may want to consider. Usually, many individuals (whether they’re employees or managers) will find that there will be quite a few advantages to assertive communication at work.
With all this in mind, here are just a few benefits that you’re likely to notice as you become more assertive:
- It could help you gain confidence in yourself and have more respect for your needs
- You’ll often find that your ability to make decisions on the spot will be easier
- Most will find that their job is far more satisfying when they’re able to speak their mind
- It will often lead to win-win situations in the team
- You can curate the ideal communications style for your needs, even being able to consciously change it depending on who you’re talking to
- Assertive communication will often help you to gain more respect
- Making your own decisions will often help in ensuring that the tasks you need to get done are completed in the way you feel is best
- You can foster strong, honest relationships with employees, without having to worry about being bossed about
- Being assertive will often help to keep you from being taken advantage of by others, as well as help you to be a reliable person for others to turn to
- It’s a skill that will not only help you in your job now, but in your work in the future – and even in many other aspects of life
While there are more advantages, such as learning new coping skills, these 10 benefits are a great introduction to why assertive behavior is so important.
Five tips on how to become more assertive at work
Interested in taking advantage of all these benefits? If so, you may want to consider these quick tips to earning a little more respect and overall becoming a more assertive person:
- Practice making eye contact and work on your body language to be positive and welcoming, yet not afraid to face confrontation
- Be considerate of your emotions – it can be easy to let them go to your head. Remember not to talk in anger, but to stand up for yourself peacefully and calmly
- Being assertive doesn’t mean being aggressive or controlling; you need to be able to accept when you’re wrong, take criticism, and listen to everyone’s needs
- Take the time to do your research. Fortunately, this shouldn’t be too hard to do. If you’re unsure about communication, you could read about it at this blog. The same goes for pretty much anything else you need to know – there are plenty of learning recourses out there
- Be comfortable with turning things down on the spot, as well as being open and honest about how things stand. You could practice rehearsing conversations if you’re feeling anxious
All of this is the same for women, too. If you want to know how to be more assertive at work as a woman, you can apply a lot of these tips to your own situation. If you’re looking for tips more specifically tailored to a supervisor, it might be worth paying a visit to this post about how to be a good supervisor.
What is assertive behavior, and how does it differ from aggressive behavior?
Assertive behavior involves expressing one's own interests, feelings, and needs in a clear and respectful manner. It's about standing up for oneself while remaining calm and considerate of other people's opinions. Aggressive behavior, on the other hand, disregards others' feelings and can be confrontational and dominating. While assertive communication fosters positive interpersonal relationships, aggressive behavior can create tension and conflict.
How can assertiveness training help in professional growth, and what are some common workplace scenarios where it can be applied?
Assertiveness training helps individuals develop assertive skills, such as clear communication, setting boundaries, and effectively advocating for their own interests. In the workplace, these skills can lead to better collaboration, constructive feedback, and a more positive work environment. Common scenarios include negotiating job descriptions, delegating tasks, handling constructive criticism, and managing conflicts with colleagues. Being assertive at work can lead to increased self-confidence, self-respect, and professional growth.
Why is body language important in assertive communication, and how can maintaining eye contact contribute?
Body language plays a vital role in assertive communication as it conveys confidence, sincerity, and engagement. Maintaining eye contact is a specific aspect of body language that shows you are focused, self-assured, and interested in the conversation. It helps in establishing a professional relationship and can elicit a positive response from others. Avoiding eye contact, on the other hand, may be perceived as passive behavior or a lack of self-confidence.
How can assertive managers create a positive work environment and foster professional relationships?
Assertive managers lead with clear expectations, open communication, and respect for team members. They practice assertiveness by providing constructive feedback, recognizing positive attributes, and encouraging professional growth. By remaining calm and approachable, assertive managers create a work environment where employees feel valued and empowered. This leadership style promotes trust, collaboration, and a happy medium between being too passive or too aggressive.
What are some strategies for remaining respectful while being assertive, especially in interpersonal relationships?
Remaining respectful while being assertive involves expressing your thoughts and feelings in such a way that acknowledges and considers the perspectives of others. Strategies include using "I" statements, asking open-ended questions, offering constructive criticism without attacking, and actively listening to others. Whether in a professional or family member relationship, these techniques help establish boundaries without confrontation and foster mutual respect.
How can naturally assertive people balance their assertiveness to avoid confrontation and maintain positive relationships?
Naturally assertive people can balance their assertiveness by being mindful of their tone, body language, and the impact of their words on others. They can practice empathy, seek to understand other perspectives, and remain calm even in challenging situations. Finding a happy medium between being self-assured and considerate of others helps avoid confrontation and builds positive relationships both in professional life and personal interactions.
Why is assertiveness important for mental health, and how can it contribute to self-esteem and self-respect?
Assertiveness is important for mental health as it empowers individuals to express their feelings, needs, and opinions without fear or guilt. Practicing assertiveness helps build self-confidence and self-esteem by reinforcing the belief in one's own worth and abilities. It also fosters self-respect by allowing individuals to establish boundaries and advocate for themselves in a way that aligns with their values and needs.
How can someone who struggles with assertiveness develop this skill, and what role can assertiveness play in dealing with aggressive people?
Developing assertiveness skills can start with small steps like practicing clear communication, maintaining eye contact, and seeking opportunities to express opinions in a safe environment. Assertiveness training or seeking guidance from a mentor can also be beneficial. When dealing with aggressive people, assertiveness allows individuals to stand their ground, articulate their needs, and remain respectful. It provides a tool to navigate challenging interactions and fosters a sense of control and self-confidence.