10 Tips to Tackle Assertiveness

Assertiveness

We all think we have it under control. Before we enter a meeting, talk to a colleague or generally prepare for anything where we need to take the lead, we think that we’ll be able to take on assertiveness. But then when it actually comes down to it, the majority of us often end up cracking under the pressure and taking a much more passive approach. Assertiveness is an extremely important trait to take on as not only does it help our confidence, it also helps us to develop a higher level of authority when necessary. Here are 10 of the key tips you need to follow if you’re wanting to become more assertive.

  1. Pay attention to your body language.

Believe it or not, the way you carry yourself can communicate just as much as your words can. Keeping your body open and standing up straight lets the people around you know that you’re willing to listen, but not willing to be pushed around. Maintaining eye contact in a non-aggressive way is also essential in making those around feel comfortable.

2. Communicate your thoughts clearly.

If something pressing is on your mind, don’t be afraid to speak up and let the people around you know. Making others aware of your opinions and expectations right away minimizes the chances of a misunderstanding or mistake later on.

3. Solve conflicts before they spiral out of control.

A problem left ignored and unresolved can very easily fester into a much bigger problem. When you suspect that there might be an issue between people (including yourself), get to the bottom of it as soon as you can. Rather than sweeping issues under the rug, talk about their roots and collaborate on ways to find a solution.

4. Be aware of passive and aggressive behaviors.

It is completely natural to lean towards being passive or aggressive in the face conflict; in fact, many of us might display these behaviors without even fully realizing it. Using online assertiveness training resources can help you to find out for yourself exactly where you fall on the spectrum and discover different ways to cope against your instincts.

5. Stay patient and calm.

Often, it can be tempting to lash out when something goes wrong, or shut out a peer when you think that you’re right about something. However, this sort of reaction can be incredibly alienating. Instead, keep a level head and hear out what others have to say.

6. Let go of your fears.

 Sometimes, it can be intimidating (or even frightening) to stand up for yourself or propose something new. However, it is important to acknowledge that often times, the worst thing that could result from speaking out is being told “no”. Considering the alternative of circumstances staying exactly as they are, it’s often worth going out on a limb and putting forward your ideas.

7. Hear the other side out.

Avoid dismissive language and treat the thoughts and feelings of those around you with respect. Even if you happen to disagree on an issue, listen and try to understand the other person’s perspective. Coming to a compromise – or even simply acknowledging the legitimacy behind a person’s ideas – can make a huge difference.

8. Teach yourself to say “no”.

While it’s important to take other’s thoughts and feelings into consideration, it’s also important not to neglect your own. Being firm about your core beliefs in a composed manner is an important aspect of being assertive. Don’t compromise yourself just to avoid conflict and learn how to say “no” rather than constantly trying to please everyone.

9. Be respectful.

Even as adults, the rule of reciprocity remains relevant as ever. Just as you would want to be treated with dignity and kindness from the people around you, being truly assertive means that it’s important that you avoid demeaning or shrugging off peers – regardless of the circumstances.

10. Practice, practice, practice.

Like anything else, becoming assertive doesn’t happen overnight. Look at yourself in the mirror – are you projecting a calm, confident demeanor? What changes could you make to change this perception. In the same vein, practice speaking assertively to yourself or to a friend. By taking the steps toward being assertive to heart, you’ll begin to see gradual, significant change in yourself.

Just by following these 10 tips, you’ll be able to assure your assertiveness stands out the next time you walk into work and your confidence when taking on that position of power will hopefully significantly strengthen.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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