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Assertive, passive or aggressive, which are you?

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

Q: I just had my quarterly review at work and my boss has told me she wants me to be more assertive and speak up more in meeting, I’ve been told this before but I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

A: What we are really talking about here is effective communication. There are three types of communicators: the aggressive “its my way or the highway” type; the passive “your opinion or needs are more important then mine” type; and the assertive “what we really want,” type. Being an assertive person is really about coming across as someone who is confident in who they are, clearly speaks their views, expresses their needs and then looks for ways on how to create win-win opportunities for everyone involved.

Here are a few tips on looking and being more assertive in the workplace:

  • Remove the words “I think”, “maybe”, “I guess” from your vocabulary, instead use “I recommend”, “I suggest”, “I believe”., “what I need”.

  • Watch your body language – sit or stand up straight, make eye contact with people.

  • When speaking, have a clear strong voice & speak from the standpoint of “what I have to say matter.”

  • Come into the meeting prepared and take time to review the agenda – make notes, be clear on your views and needs prior to going into the meeting.

The bottom line is that assertive people get ahead in the workplace, they are able to take care of the needs of their team, themselves and the company. So be bold, be daring, say what you want, what you believe in and look for ways to make it happen.

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