What does it take for women to be assertive and effective?
Women are seldom associated with the word ‘assertive.’ They are often considered gentle, timid, and sometimes submissive. This stereotypical image of a woman’s personality is gradually eroding, and enabling women to find their own path outside of these ancient societal constructs that have been long overdue for a change. We now find women leading some of the worlds oldest and largest organisations and even launching their own with great success.
However, this raises a paramount question and opportunity for ambitious women and young girls everywhere, is it beneficial for women to be assertive, and how does this impact their effectiveness in any given aspect of life?
What does it take to be assertive as a woman and how does it look in practice?
The characteristic of being assertive when required can be utilised and credited for many accomplishments or achievements. Speaking with regard to guiding a business, organisation, or even a home, this trait can help provide structure and an inexorable foundation that can be nurtured to provide the desired outcome.
The word “assertive” by definition means having or showing a confident and forceful personality; “forceful” in this particular context is not necessarily negative, it can simply mean unyielding or perseverant, both of which are useful characteristics in the professional ecosystem. Most leaders understand success is much easier to achieve when working with a capable and compatible team. Assertiveness can help inspire and align many individuals in a team with the same idea, to work towards a collectively shared goal which is only made possible through an assertive and targeted approach from the outset.
What makes a woman effective?
Clarity of thought, assertiveness, diligence, and perseverance will inevitably lead to effectiveness as a woman. I’ve observed in several instances concerning my own experience, and that of those around me, the profound impact of these individual elements coming together to overcome a set goal or obstacle. Moreover, effectiveness in today’s day and age also depends a lot on swift innovation, relatability, and knowledge. One needs to be able to solve problems that others cannot or may not even know exist. This does not only address women, but men as well.
Additionally, women now have access to various platforms and resources that were never an option in the past, a thorough understanding and use of these can further help them be more effective, and level the playing ground for them.
Combining assertiveness and the conditions for effectiveness
Learning from vast experience in the business world, and observing instances in my personal life, I can safely say that the ability to combine assertiveness with the conditions for effectiveness, is no less than a superpower. Though it may not be easy, and the social environment for women until a decade or two ago may not have been conducive to openly adopt these traits, it is a skillset worth pursuing in the present. Together they form a formidable leader, and for young women seeking their own versions of success in this world it is crucial to have more female role models that have strived to become icons of success and accomplishment.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan