Executive Coaching Articles

How do I Assert Myself at Work?

“I have difficulty asserting myself to my superior and co-workers and often feel inferior. What can I do?”

Executive coach Joel Garfinkle says: You are certainly not alone. Our parents and other elders taught us early in life to be polite, and not to be arrogant or conceited. However, having a healthy view of your own strengths and being able to convey those strengths to your superiors is neither conceited nor arrogant.

Your goals should be to set boundaries, to get promotions and raises, and to gain the respect of others for your talents. Here are four steps you can take to reach those goals.

  1. List it. Consider projects you have worked on and what gifts and talents you used to make them a success. Look at your daily tasks and see what strengths are manifested there. List all of your achievements and accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. Seeing them in front of you will help to remind you just how much you truly are capable of. Congratulate yourself for being where you are right now.
  2. Love it. Then look at what you are good at, what you truly love to do. Find ways to create work projects and assignments around these things. Enlist the support of your employers so that you can spend more of your time doing what you are best at. Keep your focus on those things.
  3. Review it. Remind yourself often of what you are good at and focus on how to strengthen and increase those skills. Schedule weekly or monthly appointments with yourself to review your successes and look at how you’ve contributed to the organization. Set goals to use your gifts more effectively and more frequently in your work.
  4. Talk about it. It is vital to bring the best of yourself forward to your employer. If your superiors aren’t aware of your strengths and what you contribute to the organization, they will have difficulty giving you what you want. Once you get in touch with your strengths, you will gain confidence and allow them to come forward. Then it will be easier for you to ask for what you want.

If you stay focused on your fear, you will stay stuck and find it increasingly hard to assert yourself. Focus instead on the positive, empowering feeling that comes from knowing your strengths and what you contribute to the company and you’ll find it much easier to move forward. Remember, if you believe you are capable of great things, you’ll be able to use that confidence to show others who you really are.