Being assertive is difficult to some people.
Indeed, women – especially minorities – have the hardest time being assertive in the workplace.
Depending on society’s norms, corporate culture, personal fears, gender or ethnical background, being assertive can be perceived as being aggressive, bossy or disrespectful.
Wondering how to become a more assertive leader?
What is assertiveness?
Assertiveness is a useful communication style that helps people create a well balanced life and relate to people easily.
With this communication style, assertive leaders acknowledge the importance of their thoughts and opinions, honestly express their thoughts and opinions, understand that their behavior – and theirs only – is within their control.
The benefits of assertive leadership?
The corporate world talks about confidence in leadership more that we talk about assertiveness.
Assertive leadership is being able to take a position, speak up and speak your mind. Assertive leaders:
- Have control over their lives.
- Have clear boundaries.
- Have great relationships.
- Listen to the needs of others.
- Choose to fulfill the need of others.
- Have respect for themselves and for others.
- Get respect from their coworkers.
- Are serene and are unafraid of conflicts.
- Don’t try to people please or to seek outside validation.
- Are able to calmly and honestly express their needs and wants.
Being assertive is a skill that takes time to harness.
Assertiveness cannot be obtained overnight. It takes practice, self-awareness, self-love and self-respect.
Assertive leaders stand by several truths, that they apply on a daily basis.
Truth #1. Everybody has an opinion
Assertive leaders understand that everybody has an opinion that they are entitled to.
They know that they are entitled to their own opinions and that their opinions have value.
They don’t have to apologize for their opinion. Instead, they own them.
They don’t let outside opinion define them and they can agree to disagree.
Truth #2. Self-awareness is key
Assertive leaders are self-aware, understand that they matter and their opinion has value.
Assertive leaders believe that their feelings, emotions and opinions are valid and important.
Their thoughts and decisions are their own even when they don’t make sense.
They have disciplined their emotions and can assess every situation that they go through.
Truth #3. Building confidence
In addition, they are attentive to their needs and wants.
They do not seek the approval of others.
Truth #4. Being authentic
Assertive leaders are authentic and are honest with themselves.
Assertive leaders express who they truly are and what they really feel.
Moreover, people are able to freely express themselves around assertive leaders.
Truth #5. Walking with integrity
Assertive leaders act with integrity.
They are walking and talking role models.
When they speak, they mean what they say and say what they mean.
Truth #6. Take back control
Assertive leaders are in control.
They have control over their lives, their emotions and their behavior.
They take risks, take responsibility for their actions and don’t try to solve others people problem for them.
Furthermore, they seek to influence but not to control or manipulate.
Truth #7. Failure is a stepping stone
Assertive leaders are unafraid of failure.
They understand that everybody makes mistakes all the time.
They see failure as a stepping stone to success. Mistakes don’t mean that they are not in control or that the rest of their decisions will be mistakes.
Needless to say, they don’t let their failures define them.
Truth #8. No is an answer
Assertive leaders will politely and respectfully retain the right to say no.
They say no without feeling the need to justify themselves.
They don’t have to accept every opportunity that is brought up to you.
Just remember there are different ways to say no.
Truth #9. Conflict is inevitable
Assertive leaders stand up for themselves and don’t avoid conflict because conflict is inevitable.
Assertive leaders speak up when things go wrong, when a topic has deep meaning to them.
They pick their battles. They don’t have to go around looking for fights, sharing their unwanted opinion and overpowering the opinions of others.
They listen before they speak and don’t minimize divergent opinions.
However, they are unafraid of hurting people’s feelings, of making people uncomfortable or emotional.
Last Words Of Advice!
People are not assertive because they fear judgement, rejection, conflict, challenging the status quo etc…
If you cannot be assertive in a moment, save face by:
- Requiring some time to think, to reconsider, to schedule a response.
- Practicing what you have to say in the mirror with the proper voice tone.
- Trying to write down what you want to say.
- Making an assertion and not explaining yourself.
- Communicating clearly, honestly and directly.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
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