There is a common misconception that being too kind at work will lead to you being a pushover, whereas being too assertive will earn you a negative reputation. However, is it ever so simple? Often, there is no one-size-fit-approach as to how kind or aggressive one should behave. It depends on the situation on hand, the person you are interacting with and which strategies are appropriate.
Should you need to stand up for yourself even though you consider yourself non-confrontational, here are some ways suggested by Marlen Komar on how to do it:
6. Think Of It As Not Stalling Your Career
If you need a push to be assertive, think of it this way: Not standing up for yourself is synonymous with stalling your career. Career writer and coach Christie Mims at career development site The Muse shared, “When you spend too much time focused on how you can support others, your own career and strategic goals can fall behind.” Put yourself and your dreams first.
7. Collaborate Instead Of Combat
Rather than working against your person in question, try to work with them to create the end result you want. “Whether it’s a mutual concern for the bottom line or the state of your relationship, make sure you frame your opinion in the context of what you both care about,” Warrell advised. If you make it clear you’re after the same outcome, your opinions will be better received.
8. Get To The Point Quickly
Don’t clutter up your message with segues and nervous sentences. Once it’s time to stand up for yourself, get to the point quickly and clearly. Business writer Chrissy Scivicque from U.S. News recommended, “An easy way to kill your efforts is to clutter your message with unnecessary information. This just inspires others to tune out. The more you can get to the point quickly and stay on point, the more forceful your message will be.”
9. Figure Out Their Reasoning
Whether your boss rejected your pitch or a co-worker called you out during a meeting, rather than getting your fists poised try to inquire as to what lead them to that action. “This moves you from advocating for your opinion to inquiring about theirs. When people sense you’re genuinely trying to understand their perspective, they become more receptive to yours,” Warrell shared. Showing that you’re trying to understand where they’re coming from and not just painting them as the bad guy will go a long way.
10. Believe In Yourself
When it’s time to get real, the whole conversation goes easier when you actually believe in yourself and what you deserve. According to Scivicque, “To communicate assertively you have to believe in what you’re saying. The more passion and certainty you feel for the subject matter, the easier and more natural it will be to speak powerfully about it.”