Stick Up For Yo’self: 5 Times You Need To Get Your Office-Based Assertiveness On

Sometimes speaking up is all it takes to set positive change in motion, so here are five times it's essential to make your voice heard...

1 When you’re negotiating a pay rise

Assertion and aggression are different things, and once you make that distinction in your own mind, your negotiating skills will vastly improve. Take your lead from Jennifer Lawrence, who started pushing harder in salary discussions when she realised how much more her male co-stars were earning. “I realised every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled,’” she told Lenny earlier this year.

2 When someone else keeps taking credit

Primary school playground tactics trickle up into the working world too, and there’s always going to be someone out there who’s happy to take praise for your million dollar idea. Jessica Bennett, author of Feminist Fight Club, says it’s time to be the loudest person in a meeting for once. “Speak authoritatively, avoid the baby voice, and don’t apologise before you speak,” she advises.

3 When you’ve been overlooked… yet again

You thought you were a shoe-in for that promotion, until Smug Sarah got the job instead. It’s time to shout about your own worth, and fast. “Don’t assume your manager has a list of all your successes,” warns Paul Mullan. “If you’ve achieved or over-achieved on a target, let your boss know either in weekly team meetings or in a private email update,” he advises.

4 When you’re overloaded with work

Cancelled another dinner plan to stay late at the office finishing that report you were landed with at 4.30pm? Start introducing “no” into your work vocabulary, stat. “If you don’t fight your corner, no-one else will,” says Paul. “Delegate work if it’s getting too much, or simply ask for help,” he suggests.

5 When you’re being bullied

If you feel you’re being mistreated or undermined repeatedly by someone at work, don’t stay silent. “If you feel comfortable doing so, communicate to the person that you find their behaviour unacceptable,” advises organisational psychologist Jessica Lee. “If the situation has gone too far, report the bullying to a manager or someone that you can trust,” she adds.

This article first appeared in STELLAR’s January/February issue. Our March issue is on shelves now!