How to Become Your Own Best Advocate
Have you been in a situation where you needed to voice your ideas at work - and you did – but nobody listened? Do you feel your opinions are cast aside by your colleagues or that your thoughts do not get the value they deserve? It could be that you lack in the key skill of assertiveness. The gender gap remains wide enough for women to fall into if they do not update their skills and knowledge to stay ahead of the male-dominated workspace. A crucial and useful attribute is being assertive at work or in business.
What is Assertiveness?
Assertiveness is a trait that allows you to take a stand on important issues, express your opinions and defend your views. Assertiveness is distinguished from being aggressive or hostile because you are merely owning your position with self-assurance, and not intending to tear down anybody else’s thoughts.
Why Do I Need to Be Assertive at Work?
Assertiveness is recognized as an essential skill in business, especially in leadership roles and management. Being assertive and sure-footed at work is essential to your progress because:
- Organizations value assertiveness in their leaders and employees. If you are looking to get hired, a decisive and assertive personality can help you get selected among the sea of candidates applying for a job.
- If you are running your own business, your colleagues and team members are unlikely to respect your decisions and plans if you do not assert yourself firmly. Being an assertive leader is required to garner the cooperation of your team and to function efficiently with clear goals.
- Assertiveness can help you ascend in your business. If you need to discuss business matters with other company members, bargain costs or discuss strategies with external teams, an assertive approach will help you achieve your goals faster.
- Assertiveness can help you secure valuable advantages. A confident and assertive discussion with your bosses can help you negotiate your salary, benefits, and working hours to obtain an optimum work-life balance and secure the pay you deserve.
- As you begin to assert yourself at your workplace and in your business, you will start to feel empowered and at ease with yourself. You will not be afraid to speak up and let the world hear your voice.
5 Tips on How You Can Develop Assertiveness
Women are typically less assertive than men in business or at work. Why so? It is probably because women fear being typified as ‘dominating,’ ‘bossy,’ or ‘overbearing.’ The fear is not unfounded though, because being ridiculed for developing confidence and self-assurance is a matter that every woman has to deal with at some point in her career. Here are a few tips to ramp up your assertiveness:
- Rewire your thoughts. It is critical to stop fearing how co-workers around you interpret your assertiveness. The second you decide to own your personality, without fear of judgment by those around you, the first steps towards asserting yourself have been taken.
- Be assertive, not passive or aggressive. Very low assertiveness is perceived as unwanted passive behavior while aggressive assertiveness is equally undesirable. Strike a balance by being calmly assertive and confident in your decisions. Sulking, shouting, and ignoring or bad-mouthing another person to get your opinions heard is counter-productive and does not fulfill anything.
- Start from the inside and move outwards. Your work or business environment is unlikely to help you develop assertiveness. You need to counsel yourself to trust your decisions, communicate effectively and evaluate your reactions to demanding situations. Train yourself to avoid getting intimidated and retain poise in challenging conditions.
- Motivate yourself continually. Women tend to judge themselves more harshly than men. Boost your self-esteem by recounting your strengths and developing a positive self-image. The self-image you create for yourself will reflect through your self-assertive behavior with others.
- Find an assertive person you admire and study his or her behavior and approach to work situations. Learn how to tackle tough talks by using the techniques you observe.
Women must take an assertive leap for every small step that men make in their careers. It’s time women begin to voice the thoughts in their heads and communicate efficiently to enhance their work skills. Well, stand up and be your own best advocate!