Why Being Assertive is Important and How to Develop It

Before you start, it’s important to understand what being assertive means. Psychologists define assertiveness as being able to express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view while respecting the rights and beliefs of others, while maintaining control of one’s emotions (APA.org). The basis of assertiveness is mutual respect and honesty. Assertive communicators are straightforward and know how to set and maintain healthy boundaries. Their relationships value and promote trust.

If you’re serious about living an authentic life and succeeding in reaching your goals, learning to be assertive is crucial. It’s one of the soft-skills that are needed to lead and survive in the workplace.

Think about how you feel about your life right now: Are you satisfied with your personal and professional situation? Are you conflict avoidant? Do you worry about what other people think of you? Do you tend to over-do and give to others but then get angry that you did?

If you’re not happy with where you are now, the good news is that assertiveness is a habit that can be learned just like any other. With practice and commitment, you can change your mindset and live a life more aligned with your true values and aspirations.

Try these tips for introducing a more assertive approach into your life:

  • Decide what your priorities are and stick to them.
  • Work out your individual boundaries i.e. what you will/will not accept from others or do for others
  • Develop a positive open posture and look people in the eye when you speak to them.
  • Use positive ‘I’ statements about how you’re feeling instead of blaming or finding fault with the other person. Be especially wary of feeling tempted to say words such as: ‘you always’ ‘you never’ ‘you should or you must’
  • Get comfortable with saying ‘no’ to things you don’t want to or can’t do. Keep it simple and non-emotive and don’t feel you need to add an excuse or explanation.
  • Only use ‘sorry’ when it’s appropriate for the situation. You don’t need to apologize for saying no.
  • Offer alternative suggestions to proposals you don’t like.
  • Look for compromises and negotiate on them
  • Be honest and direct about your feelings, thoughts, and intentions.
  • Consider writing a script for a situation that feels awkward. Rehearse being confident.

Try to keep your focus on the impact of the situation and finding a way to work together to find a mutually satisfying solution, which is where negotiation comes in to play; there is always a workable solution. Agreeing to disagree and learning to walk away from a situation will bring you inner peace.

Above all, being assertive means staying in your power, accepting that you have control over how you approach the situation and your feelings about it. Assertiveness won’t get you everything you want all the time, but you will feel in control and deal much better with situations that would have previously been stressful.

Tired of Complaining? Take These 6 Steps to Become a Positive Thinker

Being surrounded by people with a negative attitude isn’t fun. No matter what happens, for some reason, these people are able to see the worst in every situation. It’s almost as if they are challenged to find something to complain about. Negativity is like a disease that can spread like wildfire. Soon, others will start seeing the negative in situations as well.

But, what if the complainer is you?

Being stuck in negative thinking is stressful. Not just mentally, but physically and emotionally, too.

How do you change? How do you stop the negative thinking? Is it even possible?

Many people ask these questions. There is an answer, but it takes work. It means changing how you look at the world around you, but also how you see yourself.

The first thing to understand is this: positive thinking does not mean that every time something bad happens you feel good about it. It means having a solution-oriented perspective. It means that when you are presented with a problem you want to find a solution, not complain because you have a problem. The brain will focus on what it is fed so if it is negative, then negative is all that is seen.

This begs the question, is it possible to change this way of thinking? A resounding ‘Yes!” is the answer. It will take some work; in fact, developing a new habit can take anywhere from 60 days to a year. The hard part is unlearning old behavior, implementing the new, and then practicing for it to ‘stick,’ voila – new way of thinking.

If you’re ready to work a bit on yourself, here are 6 steps you can take to become a positive thinker:

Look for the Positive

Life is challenging. Other people do things that harm us, we get ill, economic downturns can cause us to lose our jobs, and more. Looking for the positive can be difficult. It takes practice and if you don’t make it a part of your everyday way of thinking, you will lose the skill.

When you have a strong negative reaction to something, take a breath, a deep breath. Calm that reaction so that you know your mind is unaffected. The point is to not dwell on the feeling but to focus on what can be done. Look for a solution. Ask what you can do about it and then do it.  When the situation has passed, we can often look back and see how we could have handled ourselves differently – do this now with past situations and look for the positive, look for when you could have asked yourself what the solution might be. This way you can begin to see current challenges differently and practice looking for solutions. This will help you to respond more positively, instead of just reacting to the negative and complaining because you think you have no control.

Maintain a Gratitude Journal

Make journaling an everyday habit, whether it is first thing in the morning or one of the last things you do each evening. Using your smartphone or a pen and notepad, write about all that you are grateful for. Look over your day and recall the experiences you had that you are grateful for, including things you appreciate about yourself.  This simple habit will help you recognize the positive things that are happening your life and help you see the positive in situations much faster.

Say “I Get To”

A small change in how you talk to yourself about your daily life will go a long way toward helping you become a positive thinker. One of these is the simple phrase “I have to do this”. You say it every time you do something you don’t want to do, putting your mind into the negative. For instance, “I have to go to work” can feel overly negative, especially when there is a project you don’t look forward to working on.

Replace the “I have to” with “I get to”. This way of thinking allows you to see and appreciate the positive points of the mundane, daily things you do. “I get to go to work” can be expanded on at any time to include “I get to go to work and finish that project that has been annoying me” or “I get to go to work to finish that project so I can work on something new.” Another example could be “I get to go to the grocery and buy the stuff I need to make my favorite dinner”. As you can see, within a short time this simple change of thinking will help you feel more positively about your day.

No Problems, Only Challenges

Much like changing the word have with get, when you have a problem you can instead say you have a challenge. When you have a problem, it’s usually something that is broken and almost always something that is negative. Your subconscious connection with the word is what is creating the negativity. By using the word challenge you open your mind to see solutions.

Understand That You Have Control

Nothing that happens to us is good or bad, positive or negative until we assign that attitude to it. You have the ability to control how you see the situation and to understand what you can do about it. When you choose to respond, rather than react, with a positive attitude that asks “What can I do now?” “What can be done about this now?” “Does this really apply to my life now?” you are in control of your thoughts and your actions. Neuroscience says that we need 3 positive thoughts to override one negative – doing this action will help you control your thoughts and actions. It puts you in problem-solving mode for how you will deal with any situation.

Positive Self-Talk Only

Have you listened to what you say to yourself each day? If you said the same thing to someone else, would it make them feel better or worse? When you catch yourself saying something negative you need to stop, take a breath, and instead say something positive. Ever say “I’m such an idiot!” under your breath? Stop. Now say “That’s not true. Sometimes I do smart things like XXX” and then list a couple of examples to remind yourself of what you are capable of.  Find a way to laugh at yourself and the situation as it will diminish any negative feelings you have around the situation while releasing dopamine, our happy chemical which gives your more positive feelings.

There you have it. 6 steps to become a positive thinker. Don’t be discouraged, however, if you find this to be more challenging than you expected. You are learning, so that means you will make mistakes. If you need a reminder or ‘catch’ yourself when making a negative statement,  write down (or tick off) every time you have a negative, or have an accountability partner to remind you. You will soon see that it won’t take long before your awareness is raised and you will work on the steps above.  

Be kind to yourself during this process, as change is not easy. Shrug it off and keep at it because you will be happier which, in turn, will spread that positivity around.

Consider These 3 in Your New Month Goal Planning

Well, the last month of the year is officially upon us. Where has the time gone? I don’t know about your but I’m feeling both excited and a bit scared – a new month is exciting to think of all the possibilities available; but it’s also scary to think of the new year ahead – what will it bring?

I hope you have done your planning for the new month to finish 2017 out strong. This is a great time to review your goals and see what you can get crank out in these last 31 days; this can also be a great segue to goal planning for 2018.

Here are 3 considerations to include in your planning to make this month’s goals seem more achievable, and with ease:

  • Money – figure out how much money you need to have this month, as the holidays can add to the budget (Xmas cards/postage, gifts, food, entertainment, etc.).  How many clients do you need to see, do you need to raise your rates, or what other sources can you tap into so you create multiple streams of income? Knowing that finances are secured will allow you to feel less stressed so you can enjoy this time more
  • Time – the holidays seem to add to our daily schedule which, for some, can be over-filled; adding to it can stress some out and detract from enjoying the time. Determine how many hours you meed for each activity in your schedule and plug those into your calendar. Knowing you have allotted time will keep you on track and feeling more in control. Now you won’t miss out on any tasks, or be late = less stress
  • Mindset – the holidays can be a time of having fun and being happy or a time of frustration and irritation; it can also be a time of sadness for many.  Setting a mindset goal will help to determine how you will get through these next few weeks; it will also help you to deal with those frustrating times so they don’t keep you down. Mindset is a choice you get to make so set a goal for the type of choice you make

Being more scheduled will keep you on track to getting more done and feeling more accomplished, all of which will keep you moving forward. Take time to add these three considerations into your planning so you have all bases covered. They also will help as you move into planning out 2018. Here’s to a productive and happy December!

Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting focuses on workplace happiness and organizational success. If you need help gaining clarity on your business or career goals, why not get some help – stop the struggle and call today to get started! https://www.cyscoaching.com or barbara@cyscoaching.com.

For more great tips, isit our other blog at https://allaboutcareersites.com

 

 

 

 

6 Ways to Deal With a Disrespectful Employee

Do you know how to deal with a coworker or, worse yet, an employee who is disrespectful to you? This would be an employee who feels they can:

  • yell
  • withhold needed information
  • make ‘snarky’ comments
  • refuse to acknowledge you

The workplace today is stress-filled, as workers are dealing with more tasks which are leading to longer hours. It’s also filled with very differing personalities, each with their own perceptions, expectations, and way of working. Putting some of these differing personalities together can be a recipe for disaster.

But does this give someone the right to intrude on others, either in their actions or words? If we entertain that the disrespectful employee is dealing with a personal problem, perhaps an ill family member or having financial difficulties,  it could lead to such behavior. After all, each of us deals with our stressors differently.

However, this does not justify such bad behavior. So how do you deal with an employee who exhibits one of the behaviors listed earlier? Here are some tips for doing so:

  • Document the behavior: remember the rule “if it wasn’t written, it didn’t happen,” so keep a record of the situations as they occur, including:  the day/date, time of day, place occurred, the issue involved, and who else was an observer. Look at the situation from an outsider’s perspective to ‘see’ the bigger picture; we won’t see it when we’re thinking off emotion.
  • Communication is the best route, but when you (as the boss) are calmer; have the employee come to your office to discuss the events as they occurred and to hear their side of the story, asking what led to their adverse behavior (not why), which can uncover the basis for it.
  • Set rules and boundaries: reiterating and reinforcing workplace expectations and policies for insubordination will put the worker on notice, so to speak, so it is mutually understood that there will be repercussions if the adverse behavior occurs again.  Give the employee clear expectations for how they will make improvements, but include them in this plan and, then, have them sign it.
  • Find out what the employee needs to improve in their work to see if you can provide them; for example, if the employee has an ill family member at home then can you allow a staggered shift which would allow help to take over; can the employee take a break if they are feeling at the breaking point. You may not be able to accommodate them but trying goes a long way to feeling cared about.
  • You can refer the employee to seek formal counseling, through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) your organization contracts with; this can be either formally or informally, meaning that you can recommend them to go or make it mandatory. Both have differing workings as well as expected outcomes. The other option is to put them on formal Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), with formal steps that goes through your Human Resources (HR) department.
  • Be emotionally intelligent (EI)  – you don’t have to respond how the employee might be drawing you in to; you also need to check your own behavior and attitude towards that employee as you may be treating him or her differently or coming across defensive.

Dealing with workplace behaviors is never easy but it needs to be done; remembering that emotions come into play when adverse behaviors occur will go a long way to curbing them, but it also includes being empathetic and setting good boundaries. After all, other employees are being affected in some way, as well so stopping this type of behavior should never be tolerated, and it ends with you.