Assertiveness is defined as having or showing a confident and forceful personality. Being forceful often comes with a negative connotation of being pushy or bossy. But it’s possible to be assertive without coming off as bossy. Here are eight ways to be assertive without being bossy.
1. By being empathetic
Assertiveness is built on empathy for others. Listening to and understanding the point of view of others is an important part of how you interact and communicate with others. Asserting yourself doesn’t have to mean having everything your way, its but thinking of others just as much as yourself and achieving mutual benefits.
2. By listening to others and use what you’ve heard
Building upon empathy, also take the time to listen to others. You can’t expect people to listen to what you’ve got to say if you don’t listen to what they’ve got to say. People will be more open to your approach if you include what is relevant and of interest to them.
3. By not apologizing too much
Apologizing unnecessarily robs you of power. People in an attempt not to come off as bossy or abrasive soften what they perceive as forceful with an apology. There is no need to apologize incessantly for everything. Apologize if and when necessary, but when you avoid doing it too much you avoid being put in a subservient position.
4. By not being too emotional
It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you. But getting too emotional and being assertive don’t go hand in hand. If you get emotional while trying to assert yourself, chances are people will remember your emotions more than your approach. Passion is good, but don’t confuse it with emotion. You can be passionate about something and still have it be impactful, but letting your emotions drive your approach often leaves it less impactful.
5. By picking your passion
Like I said previously, passion is a good thing. But you can’t be passionate about everything. If you are, no one takes you seriously. Take a stand and assert yourself when something really matters to you, let other things go. Being assertive doesn’t have to mean taking a stand every single time. Pick your battles and speak up when you’re really passionate about something; it’s sure to be more impactful that way.
6. By using ‘I’ statements, instead of ‘you’ statements
‘I’ is the language of assertiveness, ‘you’ is the language of bossiness. Start your ideas and statements with ‘I’. Presenting your idea with ‘I think…’ or ‘I feel…’ because it’s a way to clearly and confidently express your opinions and feelings. Practice using ‘I’ and avoid the more aggressive term ‘you’ and you thus learn the practice of assertive communication.
7. By promoting yourself, but not bragging
No one likes someone that brags. It’s a definite turn off. There’s a fine line between taking well-deserved credit for your achievements and bragging about it. Talk about an achievement in a way that highlights the benefit not only for yourself but for others. This helps you to not come off as a ‘know it all’. Communication of achievements in a matter-of-fact way without bragging helps you assertive yourself and remain memorable without rubbing people the wrong way.
8. By using the teamwork approach
When trying to assert yourself, there is often a tendency to take on more than you can handle, just so you can appear more competent, and worthy of being assertive. But approaching it from the teamwork aspect actually helps more than doing it all yourself. So speak up proactively, delegate responsibilities and achieve things as a team and you come off much more competent and capable than if you took on everything yourself.