Have you ever had a great idea at work, but felt either unable to speak up or drowned out by more strident voices on your work teams? Such situations can leave you feeling powerless and frustrated, and your organization can miss out on your contributions. The key is three things, audience, topic and conviction!
Do you consider yourself a “generalist in writing or saying something” – someone who does many different things in different roles – or a “specialist” – someone who is an expert in one or two specific areas? Not getting the chance to speak, or not feeling that you are being heard when you do, can be deeply demoralizing – especially if it happens time and again. If they’re left unmanaged, those feelings of frustration, demotivation and powerlessness can spill over into the rest of your working life. At the same time, your team and organization are losing out on your knowledge and experience, and will be poorer for it.
IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT I HAVE A VISION I HAVE A DREAM, it more than a Dr. King moment you have to have conviction to see it through.
Remember that organizations also tend to look for people with great “soft skills” – non-technical skills such as creative thinking, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, communication skills, flexibility, and coaching. These are often as important as professional in safety and management expertise.
Sometimes, whether intentionally or unintentionally, your manager or colleagues may present your ideas as their own.
Often, a colleague or boss “borrows” ideas from several people, not just one. One way to discover this is by simply watching other people’s body language around this person.
Be AGGRESSIVE not Arrogant in Life
What is Assertiveness?
It’s not always easy to identify truly assertive behavior. This is because there’s a fine line between assertiveness and aggression, and people can often confuse the two. For this reason, it’s useful to define the two behaviors so that we can clearly separate them:
· Assertiveness is based on balance. It requires being forthright about your wants and needs, while still considering the rights, needs and wants of others. When you’re assertive, you are self assured and draw power from this to get your point across firmly, fairly and with empathy.
· Aggressive behavior is based on winning. You do what is in your own best interest without regard for the rights, needs, feelings, or desires of other people. When you’re aggressive, the power you use is selfish. You may come across as pushy or even bullying. You take what you want, often without asking.
How to Get Yourself Heard
1. Have Confidence in Your Own Value
2. Ask Questions
3. Speak up for Others
4. Be One of the First to Speak
5. Embrace the Skills of Introversion
6. Give Your Idea the Advantage
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7. Keep It Short, With No Apology
Be the MENTOR to your own ideas in life;
· Lead by example and set the tone for non-judgmental, inclusive and respectful behavior.
· Be encouraging, pick up on ideas and develop them – but don’t take the credit!
· Invite contributions from everyone so that no one leaves without speaking.
· Don’t spring new information on the attendees and expect an immediate flurry of thoughtful responses – give people time to prepare.
Assertive behavior may not be appropriate in all workplaces. Some organizational and national cultures may prefer people to be passive and may view assertive behavior as rude or even offensive.
One of the main benefits of being assertive is that it can help you to become more self-confident, as you gain a better understanding of who you are and the value that you offer.
Assertiveness provides several other benefits that can help you both in your workplace and in other areas of your life. In general, assertive people:
· Make great managers. They get things done by treating people with fairness and respect, and are treated by others the same way in return. This means that they are often well-liked and seen as leaders that people want to work with.
· Negotiate successful “win-win” solutions. They are able to recognize the value of their opponent’s position and can quickly find common ground with him.
· Are better doers and problem solvers. They feel empowered to do whatever it takes to find the best solution to the problems that they encounter.
· Are less anxious and stressed. They are self-assured and don’t feel threatened or victimized when things don’t go as planned or as expected.
When you want others to read or listen to your statements always REMEMBER! Make sure you’re visible – Spend a few minutes every day greeting and talking with your co-workers. A simple smile can help tremendously. Also, try to speak to colleagues face-to-face from time to time, instead of sending emails or instant messages.
· Praise others – If you have a colleague who works as hard as you, then praise the person in front of your manager. Be specific, and sincere, about what the person is doing.
· Stay updated on your industry – Read trade newsletters or other relevant materials that keep you up-to-date on trends and technology. You never know when this information will be valuable.
· Find a mentor – Mentors can offer valuable advice and career coaching. The chances are that the mentor has been through the same situations that you’re experiencing, and can help you navigate them successfully.
The Value Yourself and Your Rights
To be more assertive, you need to gain a good understanding of yourself, as well as a strong belief in your inherent value and your value to your organization and team.
This self-belief is the basis of self-confidence and assertive behavior. It will help you to recognize that you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, give you the confidence to stick up for your rights and protect them, and remain true to yourself, your wants and your needs.
If you’re going to perform to your full potential then you need to make sure that your priorities – your needs and wants – are met.
Don’t wait for someone else to recognize what you need. You might wait forever! Take the initiative and start to identify the things that you want now. Then, set goals so that you can achieve them.
Don’t make the mistake of accepting responsibility for how people react to your assertiveness. If they, for example, act angry or resentful toward you, try to avoid reacting to them in the same way.
Remember that you can only control yourself and your own behavior, so do your best to stay calm and measured if things get tense. As long as you are being respectful and not violating someone else’s needs, then you have the right to say or do what you want.
Express Yourself in a Positive Way
It’s important to say what’s on your mind, even when you have a difficult or negative issue to deal with. But you must do it constructively and sensitively.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and to confront people who challenge you and/or your rights. You can even allow yourself to be angry! But remember to control your emotions and to stay respectful at all times.
Be Open to Criticism and Compliments
Accept both positive and negative feedback graciously, humbly and positively.
If you don’t agree with criticism that you receive then you need to be prepared to say so, but without getting defensive or angry. The Feedback Matrix is a great tool that can help you to see past your emotional reactions to feedback, and instead use it to achieve significant, positive change.
Learn to Say “No”
Saying “No” is hard to do, especially when you’re not used to doing it, but it’s vital if you want to become more assertive.
Knowing your own limits and how much work you are able to take on will help you to manage your tasks more effectively, and to pinpoint any areas of your job that make you feel as though you’re being taken advantage of.
Remember that you can’t possibly do everything or please everyone, so it’s important that you protect your time and your workload by saying “no” when necessary.
Use “I” Statements
Use “I want”, “I need” or “I feel” to convey basic assertions and get your point across firmly. For example, “I feel strongly that we need to bring in a third party to mediate this disagreement.”
Always try to recognize and understand how the other person views the situation. Then, after taking her point of view into consideration, express what you need from her.
If your first attempts at asserting yourself have been unsuccessful, then you may need to escalate the matter further. This means becoming firmer (though still polite and respectful) with the person who you are requesting help from, and may end in you telling him what you will do next if you still aren’t satisfied.
Ask for More Time
Sometimes, it’s best not to say anything. You might be too emotional or you might not know what it is that you want yet.
Change Your Verbs
Try using verbs that are more definite and emphatic when you communicate. This will help you to send a clear message and avoid “sugar-coating” your message so much that people are left confused by what it is that you want from them. To do this, use verbs like “will” instead of “could” or “should,” “want” instead of “need,” or “choose to” instead of “have to.”
“I will be going on vacation next week, so I will need someone to cover my workload.”
“I want to go on this training course because I believe that it will help me to progress in my role and my career.”
“I choose this option because I think it will prove to be more successful than the other options on the table.”
Be a Broken Record
Prepare the message that you want to convey ahead of time.
If, for instance, you can’t take on any more work, be direct and say, “I cannot take on any more projects right now.” If people still don’t get the message, then keep restating your message using the same language, and don’t relent. Eventually they will likely realize that you really mean what you’re saying.