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4 Simple Steps to Say What’s on Your Mind

4 Simple Steps to Say What’s on Your Mind

“Begin with the end in mind.” – Stephen Covey Last week I talked about the differences between being aggressive versus being assertive. You know you need to speak up about a certain issue, but you aren’t sure how it will be perceived. While aggression generally has a negative connotation, especially for women, being assertive is required. So how does one share her point of view without being aggressive? I’m so glad you asked. Below are 4 simple steps to say exactly what’s on your mind. 1.  “Begin with the end in mind” What would you like to accomplish by having this conversation? Be prepared for both the best and worst outcomes. Know how you will respond in either situation. Identify the most important thing that you and this person need to discuss and start there. It sometimes helps to jot things down and take your notes with you. 2. Get to the point. It is often very tempting to beat around the bush and “soften” what you have to share. The challenge is if you aren’t direct the person may miss the message totally and you both will leave the conversation with the issue unresolved. Clearly state the reason for the meeting and your goal as a result of this conversation. 3. Use “I” Statements One of the quickest ways to put someone on the defensive is to start pointing out all of their perceived (and actual) flaws. Instead, begin with you. State how you felt and/or what you heard. This simply states your point of view regarding the situation. Then ask for the other person’s input. Note: This is not...
What’s Considered Too Assertive?

What’s Considered Too Assertive?

“There is no either/or between being competitive and collaborative. You have to be both and decide which in each situation.” – Cathie Black Oftentimes when I speak, I am asked the question, “how can I be a strong, confident leader and not be perceived as a b—ch?” While there is a bit of a balancing act between being assertive and being a collaborative team player, you must understand that being overly concerned with people’s perception may ultimately hold you back. There are many misconceptions as it relates to assertiveness and aggression. For me, assertive simply means speaking up and asking for what you want and/or need. It doesn’t have to be an emotional response, but an honest assessment about your thoughts and feelings regarding a particular situation. As a leader, there will be times when your views or opinions are in direct conflict with a direct report, peer or even a superior. What do you do in that situation? How do you share your input without becoming emotional? Or do you play it safe and say nothing at all? Much of the conflict or drama that occurs in the workplace is due to miscommunication. No one is sharing his or her true thoughts and feelings. You may be thinking, “I would get fired, if I dared to share my true thoughts or feelings.” Would you really? What if you shared your views in a way that was direct and to the point, but was also non-offensive and non-abrasive? Would you be fired then? This week, I invite you to challenge your current views on assertiveness and aggression. There is a way...