10 Keys to Leadership Assertiveness (Part 2)

In the last blog, I shared 5 tips on becoming more assertive.

  1. Start early.

  2. Pick your battles.

  3. Listen first.

  4. Practice.

  5. Be solution-oriented.

Here are 5 more keys to assist you on your journey to being a more assertive leader:

6. Take a long term view.

Take an empathetic approach to your assertiveness and show your team that you care about their long term growth and well being. Take the problem at hand and consider its direct impact on that person's goals and long term desires.

7. Show others how to treat you.

We all encounter people who treat us poorly, and being treated well is a goal we work to achieve our entire lives. Sadly, the main reason people don't gain respect from others is because they fail to command it for themselves. We all have a say in how others treat us. The next time someone says or does something that you deem to be unkind, tell them how you'd prefer to be treated instead. You wouldn't be okay with a person sneezing on you.

You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.

8. Use "I" statements.

Using "you" in a direct statement is a great way to make someone feel attacked. To prevent people from getting defensive and shutting down, try your best to start every instance of assertiveness with an “I” statement. Using words such as "I feel" "I think" and "I want" helps people understand that you're willing to share your feelings and desires with them. In turn this makes them want to share how they feel, which leads to increased cooperation.

9. Say what you want.

While it is important to say what you don't want, it doesn't do much on its own for helping others succeed. Failing to tell your team what you don't want without telling them what you do want can be counterproductive. If your team doesn't know how to act, they might be left feeling confused and uncertain. They may also feel afraid to take a certain action for fear that you'll disapprove. To keep everyone confident and on-task, be clear about what you want and need.

Be clear about what you want and need.

10. Invest in relationships.

Tough conversations are inevitable. But when they occur between two people who have a deep relationship with one another, they can strengthen bonds and improve already close friendships. That's why it's important to emotionally invest in every relationship that is important to you. Take the time to listen and be there for them. That way, they'll be there to listen to you when you need to have a difficult conversation.

How do you assert yourself as a leader? Please add to the conversation—comment below or on Twitter at @gregbellspeaks.