Having the ability to state your opinions, wants and needs is a mark of true professionalism and a critical career skill. Nothing beats assertiveness for commanding respect, strengthening your influence and helping you perform your best in the workplace. Assertiveness is an art of sorts, involving open, direct and honest communication, and helping to ensure that your opinions and ideas are heard.
Learning to be assertive isn't hard, but it does take some practice. Here are a few good tips that will help you in the workplace and can even translate to other areas of your life.
1. Understand that being assertive shows professionalism and is different from being pushy and arrogant.
2. Calmly state (and re-state, as needed) your opinions and don't give in to arguments.
3. Say “No” when it is warranted. On the other hand, say "Yes" when someone else has a great idea.
4. Don't blame. Ask instead, "How can we do this differently or in a way that might work better?"
5. Accept blame when something is your fault and look for ways to do better next time.
6. Do not expect to always get your way in work dealings, but always state your opinion and why you feel this way.
7. Be open to discussing work issues or problems and finding the best solution, even if it makes you uncomfortable.
8. When criticized, objectively consider the statement and decide if it warrants modifying something in your demeanor or habits.
9. Control your temper. Sure, telling your boss off for perceived wrongs can feel great, but it doesn’t do much for future career aspirations. Take time to calm down; excuse yourself and go to the bathroom, or take a short walk before continuing the discussion.
10. Understand that you are a vital part of your work team and that your ideas are important to your colleagues and your organization.
Being assertive in your occupation will help further your career and can make you happier and more self-assured. Additionally, people with exceptional assertiveness skills are often considered highly valued employees. An assertive and professional demeanor is key to advancing in your chosen path, and can help employers and your peers see your natural leadership abilities.