Inability to express yourself or be assertive at work can negatively affect your career. For instance, it renders you invisible in your place. If recognition or visibility plays a role in your promotions, you might fail to grow in your career.
Assertiveness helps you interact with your workmates to open up on things, including voicing your concerns when necessary. In doing so, you reduce stress, and unnecessary burnout, so you enjoy your work life. Most importantly, you ensure that you do not miss any opportunities because of being silent.
A survey by Development Academy says 55% of people often miss great opportunities by not being assertive enough in their careers. The proportion is even higher for young people. Statistics indicate that 79% of young people miss opportunities by not being assertive enough. Thankfully, assertiveness is something you can improve over time. According to the same research, 57% of people say that they have become more assertive with age.
In this article, we share valuable tips on how you can use assertiveness to enjoy your work life and boost your career. Read on to learn how to tap great opportunities using assertiveness in your professional interactions with co-workers, superiors, and clients.
- Build Your Self-Esteem
If you struggle with low self-esteem, it becomes difficult for you to tell others what you want. So, your first way to use assertiveness is by building your self-esteem. Know your self-worth and value it without letting temporary setbacks hold you from being open to expressing your wishes at your place of work.
Work environments have people with different personalities. Some are aggressive, others are good-hearted, and still, you might find others who are always jealous. To preserve your self-esteem, do not let the opinions of those who are always negative discourage you. Do your work and be polite, smart, and confident. To increase your confidence, practice doing the following:
- Define your success on your own terms
- Enhance your unique strengths and deal with your weaknesses
- Avoid focusing on what others think
- Get out of your comfort zone
- Rise to the occasion and try your best to tackle any challenges
Note that building your self-esteem is a process. You may not do it all at once, but with consistency and determination, you will improve. With time, you will realize that you are more assertive than you were in the past. The impact will manifest in how you interact with people, reduction in stress, burnout, and productivity improvement.
- Use the Right Face Expressions and Body Language
Assertiveness is not all about verbal talk alone. Use it together with appropriate body language and facial expressions. Words are more effective if you let your tone, voice, and facial expressions contribute to messages at your workplace. When talking, let your body agree with the message you are passing. You can use the following expressions and body language:
- Using open stance
- Nodding your head
- Maintaining eye contact
- Palms facing up
- Arms uncrossed
You can motivate, inspire and connect with people in your workplace using your body language. Further, you can use it to assert your positivity in times of trouble. It helps you manage situations and people, so you enjoy every moment of your workdays. It boosts your career, and you are more likely to feel more engaged and comfortable working.
- Keep Improving Your Skills to Boost Your Career
Assertiveness backed with the right skills is a recipe for success in your career. So, you need to have a plan on how you’ll improve your skills over time. Note that even with work experience that spans many years, you may, in some instances, find it challenging to be assertive. To avoid such cases, you need to improve your skills and career growth. Strive to rise to higher levels instead of being content with a position for years. If possible, shift roles, even if it is just within your line of work.
Some ways to cultivate your assertiveness and career include attending training programs, acquiring new skills, and leveraging employee engagement technology. Find time despite your busy schedule to improve your skills and learn something new. That way, you become a leader and a better communicator, and you will overcome many career challenges at your workplace.
- Understand Your Rights and Boundaries
Using assertiveness in your workplace includes knowing your rights and learning your legal plus ethical work boundaries. So, learn about all rights, privileges, and entitlements relevant to your career. You can always find information about it in your job description, policy manual, and other documents. Remember that you can only ask or demand what is rightfully yours only if you know it.
Understanding your boundaries will help you respond appropriately to unreasonable requests from your workmates or superiors. Sometimes, it is necessary to say no even when it seems not to be pleasing to the recipients. However, note that you can only enforce your boundaries if you have knowledge of what you ought to do or decline.
You can only be assertive and happy about your work if you can stand up for what is right. So, do not tolerate anything against the law or violate your rights. If you face harassment or embarrassment unnecessarily, turn to the right protection laws.
- Be Assertive But Not Aggressive
Please, note that using assertiveness to boost your career does not mean being disrespectful, pushy, or bossy in your workplace. That is aggressiveness and is not appropriate for you as someone who wants to boost your career. Assertiveness means valuing your work, thoughts, interactions, voice, and feelings, including those of your workmates.
Assertive communication requires that you know how to say what you ought to say while also paying attention to the wishes of others. Your behavior and communication should help create a good workplace where people interact freely and contribute to their organizational goals. That way, you minimize work-related stress and enjoy your career.
In a nutshell, learning to be assertive is vital for your career. It helps you ensure that those around you hear your views and you earn respect. Even if you have low self-esteem, assertiveness is something you can learn, improve, and perfect. It is necessary not only for career growth but also to avoid workplace stress, burnout, and other challenges. So, try these tips and learn to be more assertive in your job henceforth. You deserve the best in your career!