How to be assertive

What is assertiveness and how to be assertive and not be a jerk

There are a lot of bullies in the workplace. Some people have learned they can get their way if they bully others. To compete and be heard while not being a bully yourself is difficult for everyone. 

Here are some tips on how you can assert yourself effectively against a workplace bully and not be a jerk in the process.

1)          Remain calm. Allow bullies to be the jerks they are. Feel sorry for them, but most importantly remain calm. Wait for them to blow out and then state your case calmly refuting what you think needs to be refuted. Stick to facts and don’t take it personal or make it personal. It isn’t. This will earn you a tremendous amount of respect. Plus, your calm demeanor will be a breath of fresh air after the blow hard of the bully.

2)          Make sure to make eye contact with whomever it is you are addressing. Body language is important. If you aren’t afraid to make eye contact, people will notice that and will understand it as confidence. Practice your posture, eye contact and handshakes. They should be firm but not painful. Don’t make handshake a competition. This isn’t an aggressive thing. It’s about projecting calm confidence.

3)          Speak with the authority of a teacher. You have knowledge. Share it. You don’t need to couch what you know to be true as “I think” or  “It’s possible.” This is tentative language. If you find it hard to assert your opinion, and still want to make sure people know it’s just an opinion, try saying, “this is how I would do it if it were up to me and here is why.”  This signals to others that you are confident in your proposed solution. They can either learn why you hold your opinion, or ignore you, but they ignore your input at their own risk. 

In order to be able to do these things under pressure, you have to practice saying them and doing them in order to actually do them when it matters.  It takes time for these new ways of behaving to become habits so be patient and keep reminding yourself to do better.

When is it hardest to be assertive? How do you find the confidence to stand up for what is right without losing your cool? 

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