How to Be Assertive

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Nice girls listen up: being nice will not take you places. It’s time to be assertive

News flash: Being a nice girl at work could be the reason why you never got that promotion or the raise. It could be the reason why you’re overworked and underpaid. It could be the reason why you can’t remember the last day you took days off work, why you carry work home, why you can’t stop checking your work emails over the weekend. Heck, it could be the reason why you are burnt out and hate the job you once loved.

And by nice, we mean not speaking up when you should, constantly putting the needs of others before your own, being weary of the word “no” because you don’t want to hurt people’s feelings or want to be liked or are scared if you use that word you will get fired, not asking for the things you need because you don’t want to cause drama or inconvenience people, being scared of talking about your achievements because you think it is unsavoury and hoping your boss will notice them and hopefully bump up your salary.

You just want to be liked and don’t want to cause conflict? How has that been working for you? Not so good, we reckon. It’s time for a change. But first, some clarifications: We don’t mean that you should hence be cold and rude to succeed at the workplace. We don’t mean that you should substitute kindness and empathy for meanness and arrogance to get ahead. Being assertive means being confident and speaking up when you need to, and you can cultivate it with these simple tips.

Build Your Confidence

Being scared to speak up, wanting to please people, saying yes when you need to be saying no – all these show a lack of confidence. Work on building your confidence because then you won’t feel the need to please people at your own expense; you won’t feel uncomfortable putting yourself first, and you most definitely will not hesitate to talk about your achievements. But we know that it is easier said than done. That’s why you should start by documenting your achievements and listing down your strengths. They will offer evidence of your competency. You will know what you’re bringing to the table and help you ask for the compensation that’s worthy of your contribution.

Do It In Small Doses

Change is hard and takes time. If you’re of a shy nature, it might be hard to make the switch and start speaking up and asking for the things you need. And that’s where practice comes in, and as in everything else, start small. If walking up to your boss to ask for something seems too daunting, start with co-workers you’re friendly with (and even friends and family) ,and work your way up. On occasions when you’ll feel you were a pushover yet again, be kind to yourself. As earlier mentioned, change takes a while.

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