How to assert yourself and be respected at work and in your private life

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How to assert yourself and be respected at work and in your private life

In this article, I will present the advantages of having an appropriate level of assertiveness as well as useful tips to start becoming more assertive in your private and professional life.

Anyone can learn to become more assertive and therefore more assertive because according to Chambers (2009) assertiveness or self-assertiveness is not a personality trait but rather a skill that can be learned.

Before moving on to advice, it is important to define what assertiveness is and how it is expressed in our professional and personal lives.

According to Alberti & Emmons (1970) assertive behavior is defined as any action that reflects the best interest of an individual, such as defending oneself without great anxiety, expressing one’s feelings with ease, or exercising one’s own rights without denying the rights of others.

Lazarus (1973) identifies four abilities that are possessed by the assertive individual, namely the ability to:

  • communicate openly about their own wants and needs
  • say no
  • communicate openly about their own positive and negative feelings
  • establish contacts and initiate, maintain, and terminate conversations

Finally, research shows that low levels of assertiveness lead to increased anxiety, social anxiety, lower self-esteem, anger, hostility, aggression and depression.

If you understand the importance of being more assertive and want to become more assertive, I invite you to discover now my 6 tips on how to become more assertive and respected at work and in your private life.

1 – Develop your self-esteem

Lefevre & West (1981) show a positive relationship between assertiveness and self-esteem. Assertiveness was negatively correlated with external locus of control, interpersonal anxiety, fear of disapproval and depression. Lorr & More (2010) show that there are 4 types of assertive behaviors:

  • directionality
  • social assertiveness
  • defense of its interests
  • independence

and which are all positively correlated to self-esteem. Kirst (2011) shows direct relationships between assertiveness and self-esteem, extroversion, openness to experience and consciousness, as well as inverse relationships with neuroticism, shyness and fear of disapproval.

Research shows that a lack of assertiveness can have a negative impact on individuals’ perception of their own worth; this association can be particularly strong in the social sphere.

In summary, by building self-esteem, for example by learning to evaluate yourself objectively and sympathetically in areas where you live in accordance with your values, you will be able to more easily articulate your point of view in different situations in your professional or private life.

The more you are able to develop self-esteem, the more you will become capable to:

  • assert your point of view with ease with your professional and personal entourage
  • effectively explain your needs and the actions you expect from others
  • assert your rights and protect your interests
  • achieve your goals more easily while maintaining good relationships with others

If you need to strengthen your self-esteem and go beyond the gaze or judgment of others, I advise you to discover the article how to free yourself and protect yourself from the gaze of others.

Alternatively, you can directly watch the following video in which I give 7 tips on how to overcome the fear of others and strengthen your self-esteem:

Now that you’ve learned the importance of building self-esteem to be more assertive in your life, the next tip is to improve your professional and personal expectations.

2 – Improve your expectations

Ames (2008) shows that the predictions people make about being more or less assertive influence their actual assertiveness behavior.

In agreement with Speed, Goldstein & Goldfried (2017) although there are a series of concerns that people may have about being assertive, such as fear of hurting someone, fear of being disapproved or rejected, or fear of confrontation, the main issue is the belief that an assertive response will have a negative impact on how others perceive them.

In summary, if you think or imagine that assertiveness in your work or private life will be beneficial to you, you will be more motivated to express your point of view with ease and to defend your rights while respecting those of others.

If, on the other hand, you associate negative consequences with openly expressing what you think, you will adopt other non-assertive behaviors such as aggressive or generally less sincere behavior.

By creating positive expectations about being assertive and therefore more assertive, for example by psychologically anchoring pleasure in being assertive and pain if you are not, you will be able to:

  • become more assertive in your work with your colleagues and managers as well as in your personal life
  • more easily achieve your career goals and personal life goals
  • get out of your comfort zone more easily
  • become aware of your qualities and flaws
  • improve your internal dialogue
  • communicate more effectively with those around you

Now that you have learned the importance of improving your expectations about the multiple benefits of assertiveness, the next tip is to be both empathetic and assertive.

3 – Be both empathetic and assertive

Ames (2008) shows that individuals with too low or too high a level of assertiveness have a lower professional efficiency compared to individuals with an adapted level of assertiveness.

Kern (1982) shows that showing empathy reduces the negative effects of assertiveness.

In summary, while becoming more assertive can be highly beneficial both in your work and in your personal life, being too little assertive will not allow you to achieve your goals. On the one hand, being too assertive may allow you to get what you want, but on the other hand, it will negatively affect the quality of your interpersonal relationships.

It is therefore important to find the right balance in order to be assertive enough to regain control of your life and learn to be more empathetic and caring with others.

One way to do this is to actively listen to your interlocutors. If you want to learn how to improve your communication to become more empathetic, I advise you to discover our active listening training.

Becoming more empathetic will allow you to:

  • clarify your needs as well as those of your interlocutors at work and in your personal life
  • ethically gain the trust of those around you
  • protect the relationship with each individual
  • achieve your goals more quickly while helping others clarify and achieve their goals

Now that you have learned the importance of becoming empathetic and assertive, the next tip is to practice assertiveness on a daily basis to become more assertive.

4 – Practice regularly

The muscle of assertiveness is strengthened with practice, in this sense Kadzin & Mascitelli (1982) show that regular and prolonged repetition of assertive behaviors allows less assertive people to strengthen their assertiveness and feel more comfortable in different social situations.

You can become more assertive by programming regular actions in your to do list that allow you to express your point of view in different professional or personal contexts.

If you don’t know where to start, you can start from situations that constantly put you in difficulty in your daily life.

In order to facilitate the implementation of this behavioral change, you can use very effective tools such as:

  • Implementation intentions
  • mental contrast
  • contextual factors

Implementation intentions are behavioral rules that you will create in order to facilitate the execution of a desired behavior.

For example, if I find myself in front of a manager who is giving me too much work, then I will explain to him that I already have too much work and that I will not be able to complete the extra work in a reasonable amount of time.

Mental contrast is about finding solutions in advance to problems that may arise in the future.

Using the same example, it is likely that the person in charge will disagree with my point of view. So, I will find some answers that will allow me to deal with his objections.

For example, the manager says he can’t do otherwise, so I negotiate with him a time delay that is double the actual time it would take me to do what he asks me to do.

Contextual factors are anything that can be done upstream to facilitate a given behavior, for example, if I have difficulty expressing my point of view in front of a person, I can for example:

  • write in advance on a piece of paper what I want to say to her or him
  • repeat my speech in front of a mirror
  • bring the sheet into my wallet and read my speech again before talking to him/her

Now that you have learned the importance of constantly practicing your assertiveness, the next tip is to respect yourself more.

5 – Respect yourself more

Renger (2017) shows that self-respect, that is, the ability of a person to see himself or herself as someone who has the same fundamental rights and dignity as others, has a positive effect on assertiveness.

Learning to develop more self-respect is an important step in personal and professional development.

It is a long road that requires strengthening self-esteem and learning to accept and appreciate our qualities as well as our weaknesses.

But an important starting point for asserting yourself more effectively both at work and in your private life is to begin to become aware of your daily behaviors.

Start questioning your usual behaviors and also the situations in which you have not been able to gain respect.

If you notice that you have not respected yourself or that certain people without any justification disrespect you, it is time to take action to regain the respect you deserve.

Express how you felt when you accepted your own or others’ lack of respect.

Don’t interpret your emotions, say openly what you felt.

Acknowledging your emotions will allow you to manage them better and feel more relaxed.

Next, define the types of relationships you want to have in your life and the behaviors you are no longer willing to accept.

In some cases, this can be combined with identifying and prioritizing your values. In this way, a life coach helps you to evaluate the coherence between your values and the actions you take.

Finally, meet those people who have put you in trouble, set clear limits in terms of what is acceptable to you and continue to improve.

Now that you’ve learned the importance of having more self-respect so that you can be more assertive in all circumstances, the next tip is to change your beliefs.

6 – Change your beliefs

Comeau & Hiebert (1991) show that by acting on the structure and the links between different concepts that characterize a cognition about what it means to be assertive, people are able to restructure their beliefs and they are consequently able to become more assertive.

A belief is an idea that is strongly rooted in a person’s mind and it influences their way of thinking, their emotions and the actions they decide or do not decide to implement.

A belief is a kind of evaluation or assessment of what an individual considers possible for him/her and/or others.

If, for example, you believe that you are not an assertive person, you will behave in a non-assertive way to confirm your limiting belief.

If the belief is particularly strong it can impact the identity of the individual and some people can develop a non-assertive identity with great difficulty in asserting themselves.

In any case, it is always possible to act on your beliefs by:

  • deciding to expose yourself to new experiences that show that your belief is not true
  • listening to points of view that are different from your own
  • questioning yourself rationally about your beliefs
  • taking actions that allow you to get out of your comfort zone
  • giving a different meaning to one or more events in your life

To go further on how to change your beliefs, I advise you to read the article how to overcome limiting beliefs or to watch the following video:

To be more assertive at work and in your private life, you can:

Now that you have realized that you are able to become more assertive, you probably feel more motivated and ready to try these tips.

If, on the other hand, you still doubt the importance of becoming more assertive, I suggest you discover some advantages of becoming more assertive at work and in your private life.

The advantages of becoming more assertive at work and in your private life

Strengthen your negotiation skills

Mnookin, Peppet & Tulumello (1996) show that the ability to be assertive combined with an empathetic attitude are essential skills for good negotiators.

Increase your job performance and satisfaction

Pearsall & Ellis (2006) show that team assertiveness at work influences team performance and satisfaction.

Reduce your stress

Petrie and Rotheram (1982) show that assertiveness influences self-esteem, which in turn influences job stress. In summary, being assertive improves self-esteem, which in turn reduces stress.

Reduce the risk of occupational burnout

Butt & Zahid (2015) show that becoming more assertive reduces the risk of occupational burnout.

Improve your well-being

Bünyamin (2016) shows that assertiveness and perceived support by the close entourage improves well-being.

Conclusion on how to become more assertive

In this article, I have presented some theoretical bases to give an appropriate definition of assertiveness.

Then, I presented 6 tips to implement immediately to become more assertive at work and in your private life.

Finally, I have outlined some major advantages of becoming more assertive.

If you would like to benefit from the expertise of a life coach, write to us now through our contact form or discover now some information about our life coaching prices.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”2″ style=”lazy” items_per_page=”2″ element_width=”6″ gap=”1″ initial_loading_animation=”none” grid_id=”vc_gid:1601816438083-ea65e720-6388-10″ taxonomies=”166, 165″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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