Everyone wants to perform to the best of their ability in their chosen profession, and to realise their potential to the greatest possible degree. The problem is that a large number of us have trouble being sufficiently assertive in the workplace.
Whether you want to get sought out by the best procurement job recruitment team and invited into your dream job, or whether you want to reliably climb the corporate ladder in your current company, getting noticed requires a certain degree of no-nonsense assertiveness.
It’s often said that, according to psychological research, people who are too agreeable simply don’t do as well in business as those who are more ready to engage in confrontation when they deem it necessary.
Here are some tips for becoming more assertive in the workplace.
Understand that the universe isn’t fair and it’s your duty to be your own advocate
The more naive a person is, the more they tend to believe that the universe is an inherently fair place, where everyone gets what they deserve — and what’s just right for them — and where there’s more than enough to go around for everyone.
The reality of the working world, however, is that people are in constant competition with one another for a limited number of job roles, promotional opportunities, awards, and assorted forms of recognition and professional advancement.
Businesses themselves are also in competition with one another for a limited pool of prospective clients.
Understanding that the universe isn’t fair — and remembering that point — is a good way of reminding yourself that it’s your duty to be your own advocate.
If you want to be treated fairly, and to get the most out of your career, you have to be constantly pushing for your own interests, and standing up and speaking when necessary.
Work on developing your confidence by holding yourself to a high standard
A lack of assertiveness generally accompanies a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. If you don’t like yourself very much, and don’t believe that you’re worth the trouble it may cause others to stand up for your own interests, then you’ve got no real hope of being properly assertive in the workplace.
Begin to work on developing your confidence, specifically by holding yourself to a high standard of behaviour, so that you become the kind of person you can like and respect.
It can be hard to justify workplace assertiveness to yourself if you know you waste half of each day surfing the web. So don’t do that. Hold yourself to a high standard, and hold your employers to a high standard as well.
Feel the discomfort and do it anyway
Acting with assertiveness isn’t necessarily a comfortable thing to do, particularly when you’re not used to it. Nonetheless, you need to get used to standing up for yourself.
The only real solution here is to feel the discomfort, and do it anyway. Accept that it may not come naturally for a while, but force yourself to do it all the same.
After a while, you should find that you feel more and more comfortable with being assertive on a routine basis.