How to Be More Assertive at Work

Are you noticing that you're not being taken seriously at work? That others often drown out your voice in meetings?...

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A re you noticing that you're not being taken seriously at work? That others often drown out your voice in meetings? That your coworkers or boss constantly walk all over you? Have you been secretly looking for tips on how to be more assertive at work? If everything sounds familiar, it may be time to work on those abilities and take a more assertive approach.

According to research investigating how assertiveness affects a leader's effectiveness, those who scored high on assertiveness but low on judgment were 12.5% more likely to become influential leaders.

Assertiveness Vs. Aggressiveness

First, it's essential to understand the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness. They are not one and the same. When you're being assertive, you're simply standing up for yourself respectfully. You're voicing your opinion and letting others know what you need or want confidently yet politely.

On the other hand, aggressiveness often comes with a sense of hostility. You might be interrupting others, talking over them, or using raised voices when you feel aggressive. While it's magnificent to be passionate about your beliefs, it's vital to do so in a way that doesn't make others feel like they're being attacked.

Let's look at some sure-shot ways to be more assertive at work without being aggressive.

Use "I" Statements

"I" is a powerful word. When you use "I" statements, you take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.

For example, instead of saying, "You didn't do your fair share of the work on this project," you could say, "I feel like I did more than my fair share of work on this project."

"I" statements are a fail-proof way to express how you feel without blaming someone else.

Be Direct

One of the best ways to be assertive is to simply be direct. It doesn't mean that you have to be rude or abrupt, but it does mean getting straight to the point.

For instance, if you need your boss to review a project with you before moving forward, don't be a wordy windbag by saying things like, "I was hoping to get your thoughts on this project." Instead, say something like, "Can we schedule a time for you to review this project with me?"

Use Positive Body Language

Your body language speaks volumes, even without saying a word. When you walk into a room with your head held high and make eye contact with others, you're conveying confidence. On the other hand, if you're slouching or averting your gaze, you're giving off the impression that you lack confidence.

If you want to be more assertive, start by working on your body language. Stand up straight, make eye contact, and use open gestures.

Express Your Concern

Assertive communication is a valuable tool in all walks of life, but it is especially crucial at work. Numerous circumstances may require you to stand up for yourself and what you feel without coming off as rude or disrespectful.

For instance, if your manager calls you out in front of the entire team for something you did wrong, you might want to talk to them privately, pointing out that you didn't appreciate the attention diverted your way. You would prefer to be spoken to in private if there are issues in the future.

This way, you are assertive by expressing your concern while also maintaining a respectful relationship with your boss.

Know Your Worth

This closing tip is more of a mindset shift than anything else. If you want to be more assertive, you need to believe that you're worth fighting for. It might sound a little bit cheesy, but it's true. 

Your employer may not say it, but they appreciate that you understand and value your worth. If you don't feel like you're being fairly compensated for your work, have a conversation with your boss about it. 

And the next time you're in a meeting or giving a presentation, remember that you're just as worthy as anyone else in the room. You have something valuable to contribute.

Now that we've gone over some tips on how to be more assertive at work, it's time to put them into practice. The only way to get better at assertiveness is to start being assertive. So go out there and start speaking up for yourself! Say "no" when you need to. Express your opinions. And don't let anyone take advantage of you. You deserve to be respected and valued at work!