Confidence is sometimes mistaken for arrogance. But if you state your opinion while being respectful of others, that’s assertiveness. You can be firm with your principles without being insensitive. Assertive people are confident without looking down on anyone. Otherwise, it can be arrogance.
Being more assertive at work means bringing out what you think is right in a positive and beneficial way. It’s not enough to just keep it to yourself if you want to succeed as a team. Here are ways to become more assertive at work.
Situation # 1: You’re confident you have a better idea than your teammate’s
Instead of saying, “I think your ideas are not that effective because… Here’s mine…” You may say something like this, “It’s clear how your ideas can help the company achieve its goals. There are just some things in your strategy that are opportunities for improvement. I can see that if we try to use my approach with some of your ideas, it would be better because… Here are my plans… What do you think?” That way, he will see that you value his opinion and will handle the feedback well.
Situation # 2: Your subordinate’s report does not meet your standards
Instead of saying, “I appreciate your effort but your report is not good. It doesn’t help our team. Kindly revise it.”, you may say something like this, “I appreciate your effort in creating the report. I found some helpful content here. But overall, it does not meet my expectations because… Were my instructions not clear to you? We can discuss it so you can improve your report.” Being assertive is knowing how to offer constructive criticism.
Situation # 3: A strategy that your boss implemented is no longer effective
Instead of saying, “I can see that our strategy is no longer effective in hitting our sales target. I suggest replacing it with these…”, you may say something like this, “Our strategy has helped us succeed in the past few months. However, based on our data, it’s not working anymore. But the good news is that I found another approach which I think can help us move forward. Here it is… Is this something that you would like us to implement?” Your boss will appreciate an honest conversation so long as it is done with professionalism.
Being more assertive at work is being better at communicating your ideas in a confident but respectful way. Value others’ perspectives. You are not arrogant or aggressive — pushing one’s own ideas without respect and empathy for others.
Assertive people don’t just express what’s on their mind. Have you noticed that for all examples above, the suggested responses consist of four elements: Commendation, Constructive Criticism, Reason, Solution.
Yes, it’s better to also notice the positive side before discussing the holes in someone’s suggestion. Always state the reason behind it and be objective as you offer your solution. This is how to be more assertive at work. By mastering this attitude, you’ll be gold to any organization.