Being a leader or manager can at times be extremely challenging. Often when people who manage get feedback on their performance they are sometimes told that they need to assert themselves more. In these cases, it is easy to misinterpret what being more assertive is and instead of asserting yourself you become more aggressive.
So how can you start to become more assertive as a leader or manager without becoming the bully that staff loathe?
Tip 1: Believe In Yourself
What I have noticed is that people who are highly aggressive rather than assertive leaders or managers act this way because they lack self confidence. The trouble is people can sense this lack of self confidence a mile away and your doubt in yourself places doubt in the minds of others. Being self confident is not about being a know it all, but recognising and being okay that you will make choices based on what you think is best without letting fear hold you back.
Tip 2: Be Constructive Rather Than Destructive
Know one likes a boss who humiliates others or makes others feel small or inadequate and they like it even less when you do it in public. Make a point of being constructive when giving feedback or dealing with a difficult situation rather than being completely negative.
Tip 3: Make Your Expectations Clear
I am sure we all have come across bosses who were so vague about their expectations that people spent more time trying to guess what was required than delivering results. Vague expectations lead to sub-optimal results so make your expectations clear.
Tip 4: Listen First
If you are someone who is highly driven and just wants to get on with things, the temptation is to interrupt, cut people off or worse still just bulldoze through your point of view. This type of behaviour rarely works long term, so start to listen more and actively stop yourself when you notice impatience creeping in.
Bottom Line: To succeed as a leader or manager you need to master the balance between getting things done and building and maintaining relationships. So what can you start doing differently to assert yourself?