7 tips for being more assertive

Don Draper

Assertive managers are the Don Drapers of the workplace. Cool, calm and unquestionably in charge. 

You’ve probably seen this rare leadership species in your own office and watched in awe as they courteously turn back unmanageable workloads, delegate with confidence and calmly offer more productive alternatives to getting things done.

Ever noticed that assertive managers are more respected, get promoted quicker and avoid getting trodden on by workplace bullies?

That’s because assertive managers inspire confidence in others and don’t waste time beating around the bush. They get the job done with minimal misunderstanding, tension or hassle.

Of course, Don Draper didn’t always get it right, so don’t take your cues from him.

Here are 7 useful tips for being more assertive from AIM’s Assertiveness Techniques course:

  • Never be afraid to say no or to “agree to disagree”. This is especially important when colleagues ask for your opinion or are trying to overload your work capacity.
  • State specifically and simply what you feel and what you want to happen. It can help if you begin your sentences in the first person and by making brief, to-the-point statements.
  • Speak directly – avoid flattering, flirting, beating around the bush or manipulating to get what you want. You don’t want to confuse the message you’re trying to get across.  
  • Do not speak apologetically or aggressively. The opinions and needs you express risk being ignored if you do.
  • Confidently stand your ground if what you are saying or doing is valid and don’t let other people manipulate you into thinking you must be wrong.
  • Stay calm and do not give in to anger – avoid pointing at people, making aggressive gestures or raising your voice. Walk away until you feel calmer if necessary.
  • Express your feelings and requirements clearly and timely, rather than bottling things up until you explode.

As you can see, you don’t need to wear a suit and have a drink in your hand to be as cool as Don Draper. In fact, with a little more humility and a little less narcissism, you can be even cooler.

If you would like to learn even more techniques for being assertive and find out how to put them into practice, enrol for the next intake of Assertiveness Techniques.


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