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Assertiveness tips please!

(50 Posts)
WishIwasinStarsHollow Mon 06-Nov-17 08:10:43

Posting for traffic, have tried 3 other boards! Any managers got any assertiveness tips they would like to share? I'm going back to work following mat leave next week and don't want to be a pushover again. Feel a bit on the back foot having been away sad thanks for any replies

TheCraicDealer Mon 06-Nov-17 08:12:40

No advice OP, but I’m interested to see the replies to this as I’m always avoiding difficult conversations. Getting better but as I get closer to 30 it’s getting less and less acceptable to my bosses!

Pengggwn Mon 06-Nov-17 08:13:49

Smile a bit less.

OliviaStabler Mon 06-Nov-17 08:14:49

What type of situations are you facing?

I tend to go in with a really confident demeanor and start as u mean to go on.

OliviaStabler Mon 06-Nov-17 08:15:00

I not u

WishIwasinStarsHollow Mon 06-Nov-17 08:15:02

You sound like me Craic!!

WishIwasinStarsHollow Mon 06-Nov-17 08:16:47

Thanks Olivia mainly difficult conversations about team performance (individuals) and personnel issues

paxillin Mon 06-Nov-17 08:18:11

What do you mean by "pushover"? Do you tend to be given other people's work? Start by saying "no" to little things first, the milk run for the office fridge or something trivial and build from there if so.

PrivateParkin Mon 06-Nov-17 08:21:23

Have you read "Nice girls don't get the corner office" OP? It's a while since I read it but IIRC it's got a few ideas (eg not saying "Sorry but would you mind doing xyz" and instead just saying "Please can you..." etc). I just had a look and it's on Amazon. It did make me more aware of things I do/did that might come across as a bit passive. Good luck with your return to work.

PrivateParkin Mon 06-Nov-17 08:25:16

Sorry that was a crap example of that book - it have more helpful stuff than that, my brain isn't working properly today yet!!

Caulk Mon 06-Nov-17 08:29:44

Don’t respond to stuff straight away. Spend time thinking about it so you’re not ending up making rash decisions.

WishIwasinStarsHollow Mon 06-Nov-17 08:32:31

Thanks all, I will look up that book. It's not so much being given other people's work and more avoiding difficult conversations, I always get too sympathetic and minimise stuff/let stuff slide

WillowWeeping Mon 06-Nov-17 08:32:57

I second nice girls don't get the corner officer. A colleague gave me a copy years back after I received feedback that "it wasn't clear I knew that I deserved a seat at the table". Not all of the advice is relevant but it sets the tone really well.

I now give all the women on my team copies. And I have the corner office smile

WishIwasinStarsHollow Mon 06-Nov-17 08:33:32

I always want to be everyone's friend/be liked and I think that gets in the way of being an effective manager but it shouldn't IYSWIM?

gingerscot Mon 06-Nov-17 08:40:52

Be direct but not aggressive. It's difficult the first couple of times but people do respond. Practise appearing confident, you'd be surprised what a difference that makes as a manager, even if you don't feel it, fake it til you do.

Performance discussions, when you have a difficult message, have a plan of what the problem is, but then what they can do to fix it and how you will help/support if needed. Again, be direct and not apologetic. And state the consequences if the feedback isn't taken onboard.

Confidence really is the key, and that will build with every encounter. Be fine but very fair and very consistent so people know exactly where they stand.

Candlelight234 Mon 06-Nov-17 08:50:48

No apologetic language, no waffling, don't try to fill pauses.
Believe your opinion is as valid as everyone else's.

Candlelight234 Mon 06-Nov-17 08:53:41

You will not be liked by everyone, it's just not possible or realistic. You don't need to be anyone's friend you are employed to fulfill a role I sound like a right git but I've got a job where I've really had to toughen up over last few years.

WishIwasinStarsHollow Mon 06-Nov-17 08:57:35

Thank you everyone I will take all these tips on board and get that book! I just feel like there's a thin line I don't want to cross over to aggressive

PrivateParkin Mon 06-Nov-17 09:30:34

Candlelight you are right. I'm still working on it but I know you are spot on. What also helped me was thinking that being "nice" actually isn't helping me or the person I'm dealing with, because they need you to be professional, draw clear lines, know where they stand etc. I think (and this is a lot of what's discussed in the book I mentioned) that women are "conditioned" to be nice and (massive generalisation I know) it can be difficult to switch that off in the workplace.

Talith Mon 06-Nov-17 09:37:40

Don't use exclamation marks or God forbid emojis and definitely no kisses on email. Hope that one goes without saying!

Use silence as opposed to talking or waffling. If you've said your piece stop talking.

Don't apologise for anything unless you actually have fucked up. So no need to say you're sorry e.g. if you haven't got up to speed on x or y. Just say you haven't got up to speed on x or y but it's on your list.

IAmBreakmasterCylinder Mon 06-Nov-17 09:39:43

I am a bit like this but I am getting better at it.

I find preparation is the key. Make sure you know exactly what the issue is you are raising with them. Be able to give facts/ examples.

Have some stock phrases at the ready. Don't be afraid of silence.

If you are being completely fair and if someone is not doing their job properly, it is much harder for them to argue with you.

WishIwasinStarsHollow Mon 06-Nov-17 09:40:10

Definitely no kisses but have been guilty of exclamation marks and the odd smiley face blush I once described myself as 'nice' in an interview arghhh and I say sorry loads blush

sweetbitter Mon 06-Nov-17 09:40:10

I have assertiveness issues too and feel the need too be liked by everyone, give myself a really hard time if I feel I have said something stupid and spend ages imagining how everyone must be judging me. I think it's really held me back in my career and life. Though OTOH it does mean I've produced meticulous work for the fear of being judged on a mistake...

I am a feminist and I try to say to myself "I bet men don't think like this" in order to switch the self-doubt off. I know it's simplistic, but it does work for me because it is quick and simple and makes me feel annoyed with that part of myself and responsible to something bigger than just me.

In terms of assertiveness, keeping my cool, not babbling and going back on what I've said and apologising, that's harder for me. I have to try to channel someone else, force myself to accept silence without jumping in to fill it, basically resist all my natural impulses. It's tough!

Talith Mon 06-Nov-17 09:45:51

Another tip is to stick to facts. it makes meetings go quicker and gets things sorted. In a tricky situation especially if emotions are running high just stick to facts. What happened, how do we fix.

And never ever ever ever ever bitch, slate, accuse or imply something bad about someone else in a email. It WILL be the rogue one that you accidentally send to them yourself! Stick to facts. Facts are your friend!

FurryTurnip Mon 06-Nov-17 09:53:56

Lots of good advice above. Totally agree with the 'fake it till you make it' approach. I was promoted to manage a very difficult team a few years ago, and was terrified. But there was another female manager in the company who I really respected - she was strong, took no crap but well respected. I used to literally pretend I was her. Difficult meetings became like a performance, when I would think 'how would She handle this?'. It worked.

And you don't need to be liked by your team. It would be a bonus if they did, but what they want is assertive and supportive leadership and to be treated with respect. The fact that you are worrying about it shows you are a good manager already, so pull your shoulders back and sock it to them calmly and confidently. After loads of preparation!

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