How to be more assertive at work

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15 Nov 2022

How often does it happen that your idea gets lost in the cacophony of the workplace? How often does someone else takes credit for your work and you don’t even speak up? How often does it happen that you feel people walking all over you with no regards to your own voice? If it happens quite a lot then you may be lacking the one quality which counts in the competitive world — the ability to assert yourself.

Assertion does not mean being rude, it does not mean trampling over the rights of your fellow co-workers, and it definitely does not mean throwing tantrums when your wishes aren’t fulfilled. 

Asserting yourself at work means finding your voice and being able to stand up for yourself when it matters. An assertion, here, is actually a productive expression of your worth.

So, how can you be more assertive at work? 

Know your worth  

The first thing you need to understand is your true value for the company. What is it that you bring to the table? A realistic assessment of your potential and your contributions to the company gives you the confidence to stand up and speak when it matters, without the fear of being questioned over your credentials. 

Know your rights 

Quite often we tend to rush headfirst into things which may have been addressed better in a different way. Know these ways. Know the ethical, legal, and the organisational boundaries and the ways in which you can address a particular issue. These means would help you speak up while being within the bounds of legality. 

Respect others

The one thing a lot of us get wrong is that we assume that others are wrong. This assumption of self-righteousness often makes us clash with others and instead of having a discussion, we end up having a debate. Or we do not speak at all, letting others take control. Respect other people’s point of view and you would find a great way of being respected yourself. 

Assertion is not aggression

There is a big difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Aggression is a negative emotion which causes conflict and may not be taken well by either your peers or your superiors. An assertion, on the other hand, is a productive expression which would not only give you the voice you need but also the respect among your colleagues. 

Choose your battles

 There are times at work where you just need to keep your head down and get on with the work. There are times when arguments and assertions do not work. There are times when you need to take things in your stride and keep moving forward. Knowing when to be assertive, therefore, is the key. Choosing your battles delicately gives you an advantage which you can easily utilise. 

 Be clear, precise, and on-point

The entire point of being assertive is to state, in clear terms, your views. If you are confused yourself, if the idea isn’t clear to you yourself, or if there are self-doubts, then your assertion would be futile. Be sure that you know exactly what you need to say, how to say it, and how to counter the arguments coming your way. Your clarity will outshine your opponents.

Assert yourself with confidence and wait for the response with patience. And remember, you are not out there to get someone but to express yourself. Be true to that. Therefore, 

Assertion is merely a productive expression of your worth

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