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This also happens to be one of the main themes in my book, Leading Gracefully, which presents a whole new roadmap on how women can achieve that sometimes elusive balance. What happens when you get labeled as the nice girl? Will you hear about it? Most likely not, because people are most likely intimidated by you and could be afraid of an aggressive reaction. And this is one of the main reasons we continue to see a leadership gap in organizations today because it seems as if women are damned either way, so they either check out, opt out of their careers, or worse yet, burn out from having to constantly manage their image and perception.
Do men need to check their gender bias at the door? Do organizations need to make sure men have the tools to do so? However, women can also work on their effectiveness by finding balance between being the Ice Queen or the Nice Girl through practicing Feminine Leadership.
When practicing feminine leadership, women are able to take back control of their impact through building self-awareness and leaning into the strengths they bring to the table. Let me start my defining assertiveness. Being assertive means being able to clearly and confidently communicate your ideas, influence others, and contribute fully. Now the way we do this can be the difference between being assertive and being too aggressive. To be able to be assertive means our body language is aligned with our thoughts and we are able to articulate them with confidence and ease.
What does it mean to be an assertive woman in the workplace?
This means we feel calm and centered in our body. It means that our body language is open and receptive. We are able to listen deeply and acknowledge others. We allow others to express their opinions and give others credit for their input.
How does this differ from being aggressive? When we are aggressive, we tend to leave our emotions at the door. We might roll our eyes or cross our arms for example. We might not listen well to others or rudely interrupt. We might be demanding and not really give people the credit they deserve.
Although you are direct and vocal, the tone of voice you use and the energy behind it is very different.
Assertive body language and why women need to be trained in this
It is much more controlling and dominating and makes people feel intimidated, afraid and uncomfortable. Self-awareness is the key to personal and professional development, so we start there. Depending on your level, you may or may not be getting feedback about your performance or leadership style. Begin noticing how people react to you and whether you are creating a healthy or toxic environment around you through your actions and behavior.
Are you a team player and get along well with the majority of your team or do you complain and act a victim? Are you able to communicate your ideas well or are you more emotional and volatile?
How do you handle stress? Begin noticing your impact and be honest with yourself.
How to get your way by being diplomatically assertive
Do you want to be more collaborative with others? Do you want to build more trust with your peers? Do you want to improve a relationship with someone you work with? Do you want to be a more assertive and less aggressive woman?
Write down the types of impact you want to have on the various groups of people you work with peers, direct reports, manager, customers etc. This will give you a goal or objective to work towards and you can then work backwards to figure out what qualities you need to develop in order to get to your desired impact.
At the center of the Feminine Leadership model is the quality of Centering. You probably feel more grounded, present, calm and relaxed.
Zandax blog contents
That is what we mean by Centering. Most of the time we are in some kind of stress response during the work day. We have to run from one meeting to the next, constantly put out fires and handle many demands. All of these put stress on the body which ificantly reduces our ability to think clearly. When we are in a stress response we might respond more emotionally or aggressively. Find a practice that works for you and do that before you respond to anresolve a conflict or walk into an important meeting or presentation. You can then refer to the Feminine Leadership Model to ask yourself what qualities will help you get to your desired impact.
If you tend to be more aggressive in your leadership style, perhaps you need to practice more empathy and humility in order to achieve your desired impact.
If you tend to be more shy and withdrawn, then perhaps you need to be more direct and become assertive in how you communicate your ideas and opinions. Pick one or two leadership qualities from the model that you think will help you balance out your impact and commit to working on those for the next few months. Use the specific exercises outlined in my book to help you do so or book coaching sessions with me directly if you want further support. This will help you stay able and get feedback on your progress. One of the most valuable things you can discover is that you are always at choice at how you show up, whether you lead others or just lead yourself.
Sometimes all it takes is the willingness to look at ourselves honestly in the mirror and ask ourselves some tough questions. But in the end, doing the work to improve your effectiveness can mean the difference between staying stagnant in your career or moving upwards, making more money, and being more successful in your endeavors. For women to move up the ladder and close the gender gap, we must learn how to assertively and confidently communicate, offer our opinions, and contribute our gifts fully.
I hope these steps will help you not only be liked but also respected by the people you work with and relate to.
Why women are seen as abrasive when being assertive at work
This is a great article, and I would argue it might help some women even outside the workplace. For example if my dad accidentally hands my mom a knife blade first she will carry on about it for 5 minutes while he apologizes and keeps nodding. My female friends who I adore snap all the time, they slip between snippy and sweet with the grace of an Olympic diver, and it made me realize I see this, and expect it, in all women.
So I like your article, and I hope it helps. Thanks for adding a male perspective to the discussion.
I think women are conditioned to not speak their mind for fear of offending others and are generally conflict avoidant. Men are conditioned to say whatever is on their mind, without ever having to worry about the consequences. Save my name,and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Defining Assertiveness Let me start my defining assertiveness. Here are five steps you can take to be more assertive and less aggressive: 1.
What is my current impact? What is my desired impact?
Choose a leadership capacity s to develop. Ask for feedback. You Are Always at Choice One of the most valuable things you can discover is that you are always at choice at how you show up, whether you lead others or just lead yourself. Vulnerability: How to be Vulnerable in the Workplace. Leave a Reply Want to the discussion? Feel free to contribute!
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