Assertiveness, to some, comes with negative connotations, and it shouldn’t. There is nothing wrong with being assertive; it is a crucial trait of great leaders, as long as it doesn’t stray into aggression. When you become the aggressor in any situation, you will lose. Even if, in your mind, you have won, you will have lost in the long run.
A key part of my training reinforces the assertive behaviour that several of my clients need. Many are not where they want to be with their career or their personal life and feel apprehensive about taking the initiative, which is holding them back. Something is stopping them from achieving their potential, and often it is a lack of assertiveness.
Here are four assertive behaviour suggestions from my training courses that can put you on the right track.
It isn’t easy to have the confidence to assert your authority in any situation when you don’t recognise your value to the team or organisation.
Building self-confidence and appreciating your abilities will allow you to set boundaries and recognise when you need to speak up and assert yourself. It will remind you about your own beliefs, desires and ambitions and why they are important to you.
This is a challenge for those who lack self-confidence. However, taking responsibility in any situation is critical.
Firstly, you have to take responsibility for your approach; there is no-one else who can change your behaviour.
You need to find the confidence to take responsibility at work where there are decisions to be made and actions to be taken. Assertiveness is about action. It will almost certainly seem alien to you, but the growth, especially when it comes to assertiveness, is about becoming comfortable feeling uncomfortable.
Be Open To Criticism
As a leader, you will receive criticism; it comes with the territory. But criticism, or compliments, have to be taken in a calm and understanding manner. Don’t let either feedback alter your perception of yourself. If you feel the criticism is unjustified, then you should feel confident enough to challenge this constructively.
However, feedback will help you grow, and if you accept this as a natural part of becoming a more confident, assertive individual, you will learn to use it positively.
Learn To Say No
Saying no is one of the most difficult challenges for those who lack the self-confidence to be assertive. Growing in confidence comes from delivering results, whatever your objectives are. But being realistic about what you can deliver and managing your priorities is key.
To do this, you need to be able to, politely and with good reason, learn to say no. It is crucial you recognise the importance of your priorities and objectives. If you have set them and believe in them, they are just as important as anyone else’s. Steven Covey, the author of ‘The seven habits of highly effective people’, talks about working in quadrant two, not quadrant one, where your work is essential but not urgent.
Work in quadrant one is often urgent and important. This is where results are often rushed and under pressure. Finding this balance will give you the confidence to say no, and to feel confident that it is warranted.
Preparation and Belief
Growing the confidence to become the assertive, confident person you want to be is all preparation and belief. An assertive person is considered, measured and confident in what they want to achieve, what is important to them and what they can deliver.
Assertive behaviour forms an integral part of my training programme. I especially enjoy watching people grow in confidence as it supports them at work and benefits the rest of their lives.
Find out how our courses could help you become more assertive.