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to have no idea how to be assertive?

(11 Posts)
jammygem Mon 17-Feb-14 16:51:05

I've recently earned myself a promotion (hurray!) and am now sometimes the shift leader at work, which means directing my colleagues on what to do. I work in an events and functions job - so setting up and serving at conferences, dinners, weddings etc.

My manager keeps on at me to be more assertive with the other staff, but I have no idea how to go about it. If there's a job that needs doing, I'll say "So-and-so, did you want to clean the glasses while I do the tills?" or if there are several jobs and several people, I'll list the jobs and tell them to decide between themselves who wants to do what.

I've always been very shy and very much a people-pleaser, and I feel really uncomfortable ordering people around. I'd always thought my approach to directing people was assertive whilst still being polite and friendly, but my manager seems to disagree...

Davidhasselhoffstoecheese Mon 17-Feb-14 16:54:57

I like the idea of a lust and then people choosing.

In teaching we are told to say 'I need you to xxx' rather then 'would you like to xx'

Davidhasselhoffstoecheese Mon 17-Feb-14 16:55:14

List not lust

MsMarvel Mon 17-Feb-14 16:59:58

Advice I got from my DP when I moved into a roll managing people was suss out people's individual strengths and weaknesses. Eg if Brian was good at stocking up quickly and efficiently, but took forever to sweep he floor, then Brian would get the stock, and Phil would sweep up because he was more efficient at that, and couldn't carry as much as Brian so took longer to stock up.

There is merit to rotating jobs fairly amongst people, but if everyone can be happy and be used to the best of their abilities, then the whole system works better.

morchoxplz Mon 17-Feb-14 17:00:05

Good idea to let them know what you will be doing but I would drop the 'would you like to' instead be a little more direct, 'could you .....please whilst I do such and such.....'
Key thing is to adopt a different persona than you use with customers but still poilte obviously.
Do you see your boss as a good role model? If not use someone you admire to base yourself on.
Assertive people not bossy but you need to be clear that you are in charge.
Some people find it easier than but it improves with practice.
Good luck. X

AMumInScotland Mon 17-Feb-14 17:10:01

The trouble with 'Did you want to..." is that it makes it sound like you really want them to be happy with their choice, more than you want the task to get done. If you are in charge of the shift, then it is up to you to hand out the tasks, while trying to be fair and give people flexibility, not to make them happy.

Better to say "OK, so you do this and you do that and I'll sort this out. OK?"

The list sounds better, but there's a risk that some people will put themselves down for the easy jobs, and other people will get left with the bad ones every time. If you think there are better and worse things on the list, then you have to make some effort to make sure they get divided out equally from one shift to another or throughough the evening.

AMumInScotland Mon 17-Feb-14 17:12:33

You do need to come across as being 'in charge' of what is happening, and not just being buffeted about at the whim of everyone else. That doesn't mean you need to be a dictator, but you need to have an overview of what needs done and make sure it is, and to be seen to be doing that, which is probably at least part of what your manager is pointing out. Make people confident that you can make it happen.

jammygem Mon 17-Feb-14 17:12:52

Thanks for your replies.

I think that's the thing - I don't want to bypass assertive and go straight to bossy. My manager is brilliant and I'd love to have the same approach as her, but she is very likeable so even when she does start actually bossing people around, no-one really minds.

I like the idea of "could you..." approach, thanks!

FelineLou Mon 17-Feb-14 17:14:47

There are lots of books re: assertiveness. And maybe your boss could fund a course because some of it just your approach.
"Do you want to ..." can leave a mental Response of "no" in their head.

jammygem Mon 17-Feb-14 17:14:58

I just find it so hard as I'm naturally shy and have confidence problems anyway. I really want my colleagues to like me but I think sometimes that does get in the way of us actually getting the job done.

Lemonfairydust Mon 17-Feb-14 17:18:01

In teaching we are told to say 'I need you to xxx' rather then 'would you like to xx

Agree with this. I'm a retail manager and usually say this to colleagues. You can lead a team without being nasty or rude about it, it can take a while to feel comfortable in a position of authority in work, especially if you've started on the same level as other staff members and been promoted. Don't try to to please everyone all the time, though. Some people can take this as a sign of weakness and take the p*ss a bit.

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