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5 ways to be more assertive at the workplace

Munira Rangwala
17th Jan 2017
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Do you think twice before voicing your ideas at work? Do you hold yourself back from talking amidst large groups of people? Everyone has their fair share of weaknesses, but don't let being taken for granted be one of them. Start by openly talking about what you need. Being assertive is to approach things with confidence and make a direct impact on those around you. As aptly put by psychotherapist Joyce Marter, “Assertiveness involves advocating for yourself in a way that is positive and proactive.”

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Assertive people are careful about not upsetting the opposite person when they disagree with them but that doesn't mean they agree for the sake of keeping peace. They also speak up for their rights and avoid justifying every opinion of theirs. Here's how you can be more assertive at work without coming across as too strong.

Know your value

Take some time off to evaluate how you contribute to your workplace. Assess your flaws and successes objectively. Once you recognise your value, you'll be able to take charge of how you come across at work. When you make yourself believe that you are indispensable, it will reflect in your actions and those around you will start to treat you with the respect you deserve.

Take charge

Make your seniors and colleagues take notice of you. Demonstrate your interest during a meeting by carefully listening, answering on cue, and asking for clarification when you don't understand something. Don't be afraid to ask questions. During brainstorming sessions, work on your ideas and present them to your team with confidence.

Be fearless

If your boss asked you to get his feedback on the presentation you've been working on and he's forgotten about it, go and remind him, even if that means continuously following up with him till he gives you the time of the day. Don't wait for him to come to you and make you feel like you didn't bother taking his feedback. The first step to being assertive is to never apologise for doing your job.

Assert yourself with your body language

Don't try to shrink away and occupy as little space as you can during group discussions and other meetings. Instead, keep your shoulders wide apart and your feet firmly planted in front of you. Maintain good posture and keep eye contact whenever you're communicating so as to exude confidence in what you're saying. Create a strong silhouette and you'll automatically feel less reserved.

Be assertive. Not aggressive

If you are being disrespectful towards others or being bossy and pushy with what you have to say, that's called being aggressive. In order to be assertive you need to value your thoughts and feelings and that of others, too. If the peace of the workplace is being disrupted in your attempt to be assertive, it means you're going wrong somewhere. You don't need to bulldoze over people to get your point across.

Sticking up for yourself at the workplace will make others respect you more and make you feel confident about yourself and your interaction with others. If you train yourself to overcome challenging situations with aplomb, you'll emerge a winner.

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