Business Goals: Becoming More Assertive at Work

Naturally assertive people ask for what they need and want and more often than not, they get it. Not being assertive at work can render you almost invisible, having a direct knock-on effect when it comes to things like promotions and raises. Moreover, it can lead to undue stress and not achieving your goals… and ladies, this isn’t okay. When you can talk openly about what you want you can approach the things you do with confidence and make a direct impact on your environment. But this does not come naturally for everyone.

Here’s five tips to help you become more assertive at work, if you’re struggling a bit in this area of your life:

  1. Be more assertive outside of the office. Practice makes perfect, right? And the likelihood is, if you can’t tell your friends you’d rather stay home with your family rather than a night out at the club, you’re never going to speak up for yourself in the workplace either. Practice saying what you really want whenever you can.
  2. Use the right language. Um, but, just, ahs – they are not confidence building for you or the person listening to you. Make sure you know what you want to say before you have an important conversation and keep those ums and ahs to a bare minimum.
  3. Write stuff down. Writing out your thoughts will often help you visualise what you want to say to ensure number 2 doesn’t come into play. No rhyming intended. Ask yourself the following questions: What is my goal? What do I want to say? How would I like to say it? – Good therapy 
  4. Recognise your value. This is key. You know you’re good at your job, so keep telling yourself why. Remind yourself of your worth and it will help you believe your value and ask for what you need in return. Stop telling yourself what you’re bad at and focus on writing down what you’re great at.
  5. Think about the consequences. What will happen if you’re not assertive? What will happen if you say yes instead of no or you don’t have a difficult conversation. It’s easy to be scared of what might happen if you speak up, so try considering what will happen if you don’t! This will often be enough to give you the confidence you need to be more assertive.

Finally, being assertive isn’t about being rude or getting everything you want. It’s important to learn the difference between assertive and aggressive. An assertive person clearly states an opinion, but is respectful of others beliefs. An aggressive becomes angry and attacks the other person’s opinions, and a passive person stays in the corner and doesn’t express opinions at all, says author and coach Eva Gregory. Being assertive is about having a realistic and respectful perception of your value and having people treat you fairly. It’s about having a voice and ensuring your work is noticed. Don’t be afraid – as working mums you’ve already achieved so much. Don’t let anything hold you back now!

Sam Summers
Sam Summers

Sam is the editor at City Mum and mother to one cheeky toddler, Thor. Outside of her day-job in marketing and full-time-job of Mummy, Sam loves to write and has published three fiction novels. Originally from London and currently in Sydney, Sam is a city girl through and through, with a penchant for Paris and New York. She loves Sydney and the sunshine, but secretly prefers the rain... her ideal way to relax is a stormy day run, followed by a quaint coffee shop and her MacBook Pro.

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"Welcome to Thirty-4-Seven. We exist to ensure mothers returning to work are supported. That each of us has the tools to help balance corporate life and motherhood without sacrificing either. We're a powerful network of successful women, from the ones who have been there and done that to those just starting out on their journey. Women supporting women, mums supporting mums. Thirty-4-seven began as a blog called City Mum. That was me. Lost and floundering in a world it didn’t feel I belonged. Back then I could have really used a place like this. So here it is, and I’m so glad you’re here."

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