Research shows that women who are afraid to have an assertive conversation at work are more likely to want to leave their jobs. Rather than resign, you can learn how to have those conversations that might feel uncomfortable. Being assertive, when done with grace, ensures greater work satisfaction and can even lead to career advancement.
Consider the following examples.
• Cynical Sam, whose passive-aggressive style includes snide remarks about co-workers, is at it once again. In the break room, his snarky comments about Mary, your co-worker, cause you to cringe inwardly. But this time, instead of slipping away quietly at the first opportunity, you could come to Mary’s defense, telling Sam, “Gee, I don’t know why you would say that. I’ve never heard her speak of you that way.”
• Someone else always gets to be in charge of in-house office parties, and you’d like to play a role, but you’ve been denied the opportunity in the past. Time to speak up to your supervisor and say, “In the past two years, Janice has been in charge of the office events. I’d like to play a stronger role and I’m curious how to make this happen. I’ve already approached Janice twice and she tells me she doesn’t need my support.”
These previous two examples could be considered warm-ups for the following two topics, where many people have difficulty speaking up.
• Not feeling appreciated is a big reason people leave their jobs. So make sure you ask for feedback. You could choose to be direct and simply say to your supervisor, with a big smile and a humorous tone, “Did you know that giving appreciation to employees is the number one factor to motivate them? On a serious note, if there’s something I’m not doing that prevents you from letting me know you’re pleased with my work, I’d love to address it.”
• What if you’re unhappy with your salary? Take the time to do the research and make a case for yourself based on what you’ve accomplished. Try to put a dollar figure on why you deserve a raise. Have you saved the company money? Increased revenue? Created greater customer loyalty? Document and deliver the goods.
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