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How to be Assertive at Work?

Communication is fundamental in human civilization. We interact with people every day, at work, school, home, etc. One important aspect of healthy communication is assertiveness. We’ve all heard people say "Be more assertive when you speak," but what does assertiveness mean and what does it entail?

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person being assertive at work because of Kaizen Wellbeing online therapy platform in dubai

Assertiveness is a social skill with its basis in effective communication, all the while, respecting yourself, others and their respective wishes. When we say a person is assertive, it means that they are able to communicate their needs, thoughts, desires, positions, and boundaries effectively to others. Not only are they able to convey their thoughts, but they are able to do so in healthy ways, respectfully. These individuals do not shy away from defending their opinions and views. Assertive does not only mean speaking our minds, it also includes being open to both compliments and well-intentioned constructive criticism.

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So, can assertiveness be developed? Yes, practice makes perfect is applicable in this situation as well. Some people are naturally assertive, whilst others may not be. But the good news is that people can become more assertive by practising and learning the best ways to communicate.

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Being assertive is a healthy way of communicating, but why is it necessary? Of all, people who are assertive tend to project themselves as confident. They are able to prevent others from taking advantage of them and establish and maintain boundaries much more easily. Individuals who are not able to assert themselves could experience sensitivity to criticism and more anxiety than individuals who are able to assert themselves. Not having the ability to speak up at work could have potential long-lasting adverse effects. A person who is assertive in the workplace tends to be more visible and seem more capable than someone who is not.

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Assertiveness is important in every facet of life. It is especially so at our workplace. Not only does being assertive help your voice be heard among that of your peers, it also helps you to be respected. Additionally, studies have revealed that individuals who receive assertiveness training tend to show improvement in their anxiety. An added benefit of being assertive is that it is a quality that could make you a good leader.

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There are two main aspects to being assertive. The first one is learning to respect yourself and treat yourself with respect, and the second one is building effective communication skills. Here are some ways in which you can be more assertive in your workplace.

  • When trying to become more assertive, it is important to know your own value as a person. Assertiveness not only includes respecting others; it also includes respecting yourself. Valuing yourself does not mean that one should always think extremely highly of oneself to the extent that they are unable to understand their own faults and deny that one do make mistakes. It means that one doesn't become extremely self-critical and can think of themselves in a positive light realistically.

  • It is always important to know your rights when you're at your workplace. This ensures that you're not being taken advantage of. This includes knowing the legal and ethical boundaries of your work and reading the fine print of your contract. Not reading the full terms of the contract is something that a lot of people are guilty of. Unfortunately, this leaves them vulnerable to being exploited. This ensured that you read every term and clause cited in your contract.

  • Knowing and establishing your personal boundaries. We find it stressful when someone crosses our boundaries. However, we do not realise that most of the time we do not establish boundaries or let the other person know where we draw the line. Thus, it becomes important to know where you draw the line and to let the other person know as well.

  • When trying to be assertive, people often confuse assertiveness with aggression. When trying to build your assertiveness skills, it is important to know the difference between being aggressive and being assertive. Being assertive is not the same as being bossy or disrespecting others. People can always be assertive without being harsh or rude.

  • Practice makes perfect. Practice being assertive every chance you get. Every time you practise, you’re unlearning your previous patterns of behaviour, which may include being assertive and raising your opinions at home, in shops, etc.

  • Be patient with yourself. You may find it hard to change your ways and be assertive all of a sudden. Change is gradual. Give yourself time to unlearn old patterns and learn new ones.

  • Hold yourself accountable for your own actions. When you display aggressive behaviour toward another person, you are not encouraging others to be assertive but rather aggressive or passive. Assertiveness should not turn into manipulation or aggression. Be aware of your words and how you frame them. Express your opinion, but do not be condescending.

Assertive skills are mostly learned either from a caregiver, model or authority figure. It's not too late, you can still learn to apply and practice assertive communication with the help of our best psychologist in Dubai providing you with affordable online therapy in Dubai. Build confidence, assertiveness and self-esteem by enrolling yourself in therapy with Kaizen Wellbeing helping you access the truer more authentic you and abandoning the fearful façade of yours in the best online therapy in Dubai.

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When being or trying to be assertive, maintain eye contact and be aware of your body language. Use "I’ statements more than "you" statements. Instead of saying "You need to stop taking my chair," you can say "I feel uncomfortable when I cannot have access to my chair." One of the main aspects of being assertive, as well as one of the most uncomfortable parts for many people, is learning to say no. But it is important to say no when the situation requires it.

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Assertiveness is a necessary skill regardless of what the situation is. Learning to be assertive can make your life easier and help you satisfy your needs and wants. So take your time and build some assertiveness skills with your therapist at Kaizen Wellbeing.

Whatever your needs may be, there's a therapist out there who can help you find the cure for anxiety, panic attacks, and other mental health concerns.

Kaizen Wellbeing is the best online therapy platform in Dubai, UAE that caters to the South Asian community. There is a dearth of good therapy establishments that accommodate the mental health needs of the brown community. We aim to bridge that gap by providing you with quality and affordable care with qualified and warm therapists. Reach out at or +971 50 961 8796 and book your first session towards understanding yourself and others better.

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If you have any queries please put them down in the comments section and we will try our best to answer them and help you out.

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