Just the other day I was talking to one of my friends. She was heading for a much-awaited vacation but seemed quite upset. When I inquired about what the matter was; she said her boss who was ‘well aware’ that she was going on leave, dumped a pile of work on her that morning…
If only she had firmly said that the work would be done, but only after she returns from vacation… She would have saved herself from trouble!
"Such difficult conversations are quite common in corporate scenario....How can one escape?"
Why being ASSERTIVE in your workplace is IMPORTANT?
When you stand up for yourself, it doesn’t make you a rude or an aggressive person. Instead, you will be respected by your colleagues for your confidence and straightforwardness - Yes…It’s true!
Okay, maybe as children, we’ve been taught to be polite and not react if we don’t like something that someone said or did. However, LISTEN; don’t confuse yourself between being ‘aggressive’ and being ‘assertive.’
You are aggressive when you do something to satisfy your interests without any consideration for the rights or needs of others… Assertiveness, on the other hand, is being forthright about what you want without disregarding the rights or feelings of people.
This is just one of the many scenarios that many professionals face today in their workplace. When you shy away from being transparent about what you think; when you fail to communicate what you want clearly… it can affect your work negatively.
"Do you find it arduous to convey your thoughts to someone who is in a higher power or authority in your workplace?
Do you often say ‘yes’ when you wanted to say ‘no’ just because you feel it would seem ‘offensive’?
When you are upset with someone, do you refrain from letting that person know and keep it to yourself?"
Assertiveness is the term here.......
Remember; this is a crucial communication skill required in your workplace. If you’re not assertive enough in certain situations, it’s easy for other co-workers to take advantage of you…What happens after that? - You get frustrated and often that will reflect in your work!
How to be ASSERTIVE without sounding aggressive?
Sometimes it may seem hard to ‘speak your mind’…
It is essential to value others’ thoughts, but does that mean you need to undermine yours
“Value yourself…You are as important as anyone else.”
Everyone needs to be treated with dignity and respect, and that includes you. ‘Believe’ in yourself. It’s good to be kind to others, but never so generous that you end up accepting your colleague’s demands although you know it’s not the right time for you.
“Be confident ... Recognize your priorities.”
If you feel that you’re long due for a promotion, don’t wait for your boss to realize it. You may end up waiting forever! Be confident in expressing your wants and needs, but do it 'sensitively’ and ‘positively.'
That excellent balance may seem complicated, but with practice, you’ll be able to master the art. Try and build on your communication skills. Run your mind through what you want to say at home; it really works! When you exhibit confidence and clarity, people around you will treat you with more respect.
“Don’t let anyone force it on you… Learn to say NO. ”
Remember, you cannot go about pleasing everyone; so learning to say ‘NO’ when necessary is essential. Explain why you’re saying so and if possible try to create a win-win situation - but be firm.
“Welcome Compliments as well as Criticism.”
In a professional environment, we’re bound to receive both positive and negative feedback. Accept both ‘humbly’ and ‘positively’ If you believe that some criticism that came your way was unfounded, be prepared to openly say so without being ‘defensive’ or ‘aggressive.’
“Familiarize yourself with Assertive Statements.”
When you want to convey something strongly and firmly, use more "I" statements like “I have to” or “I want”. Avoid, “I think” or “I may” as this may portray uncertainty.
Occasionally, some incident may make you feel too emotional or angry. It is best not to react right away as you may be unsure of what you want and may mess up. Take your time, compose your thoughts and then go and speak to that person.
Avoid ‘sugar coating’ when you talk in a professional environment. People may not take you seriously. Instead, send out a ‘clear message.’ Choose verbs like ‘want’ instead of ‘need’ and ‘will’ instead of ‘could’.
Learning to be assertive will not happen overnight… However, believe me, with practice it will become a part of you. Be consistent and over time, you will see that you’ll be able to take proactive stances effortlessly.
Voila! You’ll find yourself becoming more productive and being able to face workplace challenges much more efficiently!