How To Assert Yourself At Work

March 11, 2021


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Everyone deserves to feel empowered and as if they have a voice. Without it, we only hear from a select few ‘approved’ individuals, and that often leads to creative decay, stagnant thinking, and worse, the ability to silence others. If you feel that you’re struggling to speak up, it can pay to become more assertive. Sometimes, this can be the crack in the office environment that you need in order to get your point across, or to begin bringing your excellent ideas to the table, or in simply showing those around you that you won’t be quiet simply because it’s easy to do so.

But being assertive is hard. It requires conflict management and the willingness to apply it carefully, without being overly brittle or aggressive for aggressive’s sake. The first thing we need to recognise is that we can’t all be 100% responsible for how someone perceives us, and so worrying about that endlessly is useless. As long as we’re polite, we have measured ourselves.

But how can you readily assert yourself at work with confidence? Let’s consider some worthwhile tips:

Do The Work

Of course, it’s important to do the work to make sure you have something to say beforehand. Many people think that being assertive means being heard in all situations, but that’s not true. Being truly assertive means having something to assert. This can help you defend your ideas, and take less silliness from people who are unable to provide that kind of value themselves. This way, you not only assert yourself because you deserve to, but because you’re meant to. Of course, in social situations, you can assert yourself whenever you deem that necessary. But for official meetings and contributive environments, earning your own desire to assertiveness can help you get most of the way there, and speak with authority.

Take It Slowly

It’s not easy to assert yourself if you haven’t done so for a while. Perhaps starting slowly can help. It might be that you decide to raise your hand in meetings more, or that you decide to practice asking your boss for a raise with your friend, or bringing up to the manager that 24 hour AC repair is needed to fix the terrible ventilation in the office. This way, you can become more comfortable with the idea of speaking about serious topics, without having to struggle in that light.

Stick To Your Principles

Not everyone will take your assertiveness seriously if you just do it to be fractious or domineering. For this reason, having principles that you can assert yourself from will help you feel much more confident and justified in doing so. It might be, for instance, that you are being spoken over quite rudely in a meeting. One of your principles may be that you won’t let anyone lord it over you unless correcting you, and that they certainly won’t disrespect you in a public forum. This can help you avoid sitting down and ‘taking it,’ because you know in your heart you don’t deserve that treatment, and besides, you have a code to address those situations head on anyway. Even if the outcome isn’t as helpful as you had hoped, you have lived by your principles, and that means you can feel less unsure about your actions.

With this advice, we hope you can more readily be as assertive as you wish to be.

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