Powerful tips to be more naturally assertive at work

It’s all in the understanding….

Do you know anyone who practices assertiveness at work, and gets it right? Ask ten people what assertiveness is and you’ll get ten different answers. Naturally passive people can see it as a hurdle to climb, yet at the same time feel small for not standing up for their rights. Others see it as a legitimate way to voice their opinions over others, rather than create a fair working practise between parties.

Some cultures see western assertiveness as rude, so intentions have to be sincere on both sides. The trouble is nobody is really taught at school how to be assertive in the right way – and assertiveness is a learnt behaviour.

STL training Courses London on Assertiveness
Powerful tips to be naturally assertive at work
So what is it?

It is about balance. It is having the confidence, patience and desire to lay out your needs and wants transparently and authentically, whilst considering the needs and wants of all concerned.

“Assertiveness expresses our needs and wants in a non-threatening way, all the while being respectful of the other’s needs and wants and is done so in the light of empathy, but not overly emotional.”

NEVER go into a conversation when you are feeling upset or angry. Never assume a militant stance. Calmness and consideration are both key, as is deep, receptive listening.

One of the benefits of being assertive is that it gives you a better understanding of yourself and the value you can offer an organisation.

Not only are you better able to negotiate “win-win” solutions, you can gain common ground with the other party much more quickly and effectively.

Typically, people who are problem solvers and ‘doers’ are seen as great managers and are generally well-liked.

Most of all, you’ll become less anxious about voicing what needs to be said and won’t feel victimised when things don’t quite go as planned. You are ultimately more likely find a better working solution, whilst keeping clear and appropriate boundaries in place.

Employing Assertiveness Techniques

Use “I” statements and powerful words such as “I strongly feel”. Make sure you understand how the other person is viewing the situation. You can only operate successfully from building strong rapport and actively engaging with their point of view. An empathic response will allow them to see that you consider them too.

Always talk about the desired outcome that will serve both parties. If you have to become firmer, do so by asking them if they, too, have this outcome in mind.

If you start to feel emotional, ask for time to compose your thoughts. When you’re ready to begin again, use emphatic words such as “will” instead of “could or should” “ I want”, instead of “I would like” and so on. It’s about making your position clear.

There are many more techniques which will not only bring successful outcomes but earn you both respect and appreciation. These are the basic keys to be more naturally assertive at work.

Improving Communication helps Manage Change

Change is the one thing that has the greatest impact on our lives and careers and there is no doubt that communication is key to managing it. But how well do Organisations perform in this area?

change management - communication tips
How to manage change through better communication
When we lose the security of routine and the known boundaries in which we operate, change affects us on a fundamental level:
  • It weakens our self-confidence
  • It challenges our productivity at work
  • It creates baseless fears and concerns
  • It causes stress between individuals and teams
  • It makes acquiring new knowledge and learning new systems daunting.

Are there factors that can help guide us through the process of change? Is there a plan or blueprint that we can use to better support and implement change?

There is a clear 4-stage process to help you become more self-aware, and therefore navigate change more successfully:

 

  1. The initial shock. You are moving through the day and hear rumours of changes about to be implemented. Nothing has been confirmed and then suddenly it is announced, and changes will being implemented with immediate effect. At this stage we often experience shock, confusion, worry and concern. Questions are raised about your position, the impact on the business and as a result, the new knowledge that you may be challenged to learn.
  2. Defensive mode begins. The initial shock has weakened, and the news sinks in. You don’t know why it happened and you question the logic of it. The more you pull the decision apart the angrier you get. It doesn’t make sense and is when your defensive retaliation is at its highest. You band together with colleagues who agree with your position. All you can see are the difficulties.
  3. Just feels wrong. The ‘uncomfortable’ stage begins. You are unhappy and feel awkward and unsure what to do, or where the company is heading. You start to see the advantages yet remain unconvinced. Others are quick to point out faults in the logic and colleagues are often at their lowest point.
  4. Time passes and things begin to make sense. You see why change was implemented, and the advantages. The progress forward seems heavy and slow yet there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Could this have been easier? What was missing?

 

In each of these stages the key was the lack of communication.

  • A meeting of all those potentially affected could be held to present the change, the impact and the benefits. Reassurances should be given at this point, because it positively impacts confidence.
  • Team sessions should be organised to discuss issues, address individual concerns and  come up with possible solutions.
  • Implement 1-2-1 goal setting, action plans and define clear objectives, which results in a sense of control returning.

 

Change is inevitable and offers the greatest opportunity for growth, or the seeds of destruction. How it’s handled strongly dictates which outcome will prevail.