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Asserting Yourself Professionally

Defining and Determining a Professional Style

Your professional style is the way you conduct yourself as you interact with co-workers or subordinates in the workplace. For example, your current professional style might be aggressive, passive, or assertive.

It’s important that you identify the style you use on a daily basis. This gives you a baseline to work from as you decide if, or how, you want to change your professional business style. From this baseline, you can define the changes and improvements that you want to make in your style.

Questions to ask to determine your style

The traits of an assertive professional style can be your guide for asking questions. Answers will help you pinpoint whether you’re assertive.

“Do I use proactive listening strategies?”

This question helps you determine how effective you are at connecting with and gathering information from others. Proactive listening involves more than just passively listening to someone.

One important element of a proactive listening strategy is summarizing the main points of a discussion and the decisions reached by the participants. Another important element is clarifying the reason for a meeting before conversation begins. You’ll find that this strategy involves actions other than just listening passively to someone.

“Do I use constructive feedback strategies?”

This helps you determine how effective you are at connecting with others and providing helpful, useful information. For example, you’re providing constructive feedback when you suggest to a team leader that meetings can be run more effectively or when you present an idea for improving how meetings are structured and conducted.

If your style is too passive, you may realize you’re being taken advantage of. If your style is aggressive, others may resent or fear you. The answers to these questions may indicate that you need to develop a more assertive professional style.

The two questions above help you determine your current professional business style.

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