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Strategies to Develop Your Assertive Style

Building Your Style

Three strategies form the foundation for building your assertive style. Once you’re comfortable with these strategies, you can add additional elements to bolster your style. The strategies are:

1. Being proactive — Look for assignments where you can make a contribution and then volunteer to play a role. Seek a role that is responsible for a specific, measurable component of the project. After all, you want to receive credit for the work you accomplish. You’re also proactive when you anticipate future needs or issues and take steps to address them. Supervisors and co-workers alike will respond well when they realize the benefits of your actions and behavior.

2. Being accountable — You’re being accountable when you personally ensure that you follow directions and carry out actions expected of you by others in the workplace. Accountability also includes being answerable to others both for successes and problems when you have assumed a responsible role.

3. Being an active participant — Active participation occurs when you take part in assignments or assume your share, or more, of the workload. One way of increasing your participation is to ask questions to discover what assignments are available, and then request those you would like to be involved with. 

You can also demonstrate that you are an active participant in essential activities by making sure you carry your share of the workload in the office. You even take on additional work when you can and when it helps other managers complete important assignments.

By applying these strategies, you can build your assertive professional style.

Enhancing Your Style

Building a foundation for your assertive style is the starting point. Just as you took the responsibility to develop your assertive style, you can also take the lead in enhancing that style. The following are three primary guidelines for doing this:

1. Act decisively — You are decisive when you make clear choices about when and how to act in business situations. For example, if a staff member has handled a customer poorly, you might act decisively to identify the stage of the customer problem and the resolution required. You may also determine how to act toward a subordinate in a difficult situation. This decision can vary with each situation.

2. Act loyally — There are two distinct ways you can exhibit loyalty in a business setting. First, you can play the role of loyal opposition by ensuring all options are presented. Once a decision is made, however, you then need to be an active supporter of that decision in the workplace.

3. Act credibly — When you’re credible, others in the workplace will believe your words and actions. You are believable when others think you’re truthful and the information you provide is as complete and accurate as you can make it. You enhance your trustworthiness when others believe you’ll do what you say you will. Your actions demonstrate your credibility.

Enhancing your assertive style beyond your established foundation can be satisfying. You can achieve this by acting decisively, credibly, and loyally in workplace situations.