November 26, 2008
I often meet women who tell me they would like to be more assertive and outspoken at work but are afraid to do so because they’ve seen other women get labeled with the infamous “B” word. If you want to be seen as assertive and outspoken, then the key is to act with confidence, not arrogance. Read on for more tips…
Start your behavior change by being confident in who you are and in your skills and abilities. Then,
- Never put others down in your quest to move ahead in your career.
- Listen to other people’s ideas and try your best to keep the work environment open and honest.
- Be open and flexible to comments from others and seek out the opinions of others.
- During meetings, try to make sure quiet individuals are also heard. If Mary is usually very quiet but you know she generally comes up with great ideas, specifically ask her by saying, “Mary, last week you had a great idea that helped us solve the ABC problem. I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are on this topic.” Or, “John, you came up with a great way to implement our XYZ project last month. I’m wondering if you see any parallels to this new project. Do you think we can we take any of the learnings from the last project and apply them to this project?”
- Be confident but modest, and ensure you are giving credit where it is deserved.
- Never act egotistical or arrogant.
- Also, make sure you really study up on subjects, projects and tasks at work – and think through situations, trying to determine additional ideas or ways of implementing things or solving problems.
- When you speak up in meetings or during one-on-one situations, you will then be able to do so with confidence and with a feeling that what you have to say is important and relevant to the topic at hand.
- Never speak out in a meeting just to be heard – speak out when you have something important to say or when you are trying to help facilitate a smooth meeting by asking questions of others or clarifying certain situations.
- Be the first to admit when you don’t know something or don’t have an answer – but let the person(s) know you are willing to learn or find out the answer.
- And finally, thank others for their help, for their participation, or for their efforts. A pat on the back goes a long way, and I personally don’t think we say “thank you” to enough people at work these days.
All of these actions will help you be more assertive and outspoken on the job, without getting labeled with the “B” word.
~ Lisa Quast
Photo credit: Microsoft Free Clip Art