The below article is a short excerpt from my new book! Enjoy!
Assertiveness is an easy way to gain respect from the men on your team and it can help men become more confident in you. Men respect a woman who speaks her mind and challenges others. Men want to hear your voice, because you have different strengths than them and bring a different viewpoint to the team.
Men also expect interruptions because that is what they are used to when they are around other men. Therefore, your assertiveness won’t be seen as overbearing (or bitchy!).
When you waiver or ask for reassurance, you lose trust and respect. If you sweat, your team sweats. If you simply go along with what other people say, you lose credibility.
Be an Assertive Woman, Even When You Don’t Feel It
You have to act self-confident even if you aren’t really feeling it. If you aren’t confident in yourself, why should anyone else believe you? According to Dr. Valerie Young, author of “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable Women Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It”, says that women need to, “Make it a skill to wing it.”
Here are some ways that you can be assertive AND smart:
Gather as much information as possible before a meeting so you have all your thoughts ready to present.
Practice being assertive by role-playing with a friend or co-worker beforehand.
Don’t wait for an opportunity to talk. Practice being the first to speak.
Start small. Practice being assertive by asking for that discount on your grocery bill. Once you succeed, you will be more confident the next time you challenge someone.
Asking a question is an easy way to assert yourself because it usually doesn’t make the other person feel bad.
Identify the situations where you will most likely have trouble speaking up. Think about what you want to say and why you are scared to say it. Then, think of what the worst thing could happen if you say it. You probably have nothing to lose.
Instead of telling someone that you think they are wrong, try offering suggestions to soften the blow.
Whatever you do, think about the big picture goal. If you hurt someone’s feelings, it might last for a day or two, but your big picture goal of having your voice heard is what is most important. (Besides, most men get over things a lot faster than women.)
If you liked this article about being an assertive woman, make sure you grab my book “The Professional Women’s Guide to Managing Men” on Amazon. I’d love to hear what you think.