For someone like myself who cares deeply about my relationships with family, friends, and coworkers, it can be difficult to be assertive, for fear of being inconsiderate or argumentative. Many mistake not being forceful or opinionated with a lack of strength; this could not be further from the truth. Here are four scenarios when speaking up is not just okay, but the best decision you can make.
When you witness misconduct
For some, it’s easy to come forward when another employee demonstrates dishonest or inappropriate behavior. For others, the misconduct is not mentioned for fear of future strife with the particular employee. No matter if your relationship with the individual becomes strained, speaking up on what you’ve witnessed (or heard) is always the right thing to do. Your supervisors will respect your adherence to company policy.
When you’re being taken advantage of
We all must work outside our given job descriptions. Contributing to the team by going above and beyond your given duties is essential not only to the company’s success, but also to your professional advancement. Keep in mind, though, that there’s a difference between being trusted with additional tasks and being stretched too thin. If you feel you have reached your limit in what you are able to do, speak up. If you have too many balls in the air your work may suffer. So, coming forward and being honest will demonstrate to your supervisor that you not only care about the quantity of work given but most importantly its quality.
When you don’t understand
No matter if you’re in an entry-level position or in a supervisory role, never be afraid to ask questions. Don’t pretend to know more than you do. Speak up if you have concerns or need more information about the work you’ve been tasked with. It’s better to be confident in what the expectations are then to not completely understand. That way you know you’ll get it right.
When you just feel strongly about something
There is a difference between being aggressive with your concerns and opinions and actually asserting yourself in what you feel strongly about. Don’t be afraid to be different than your colleagues. If things are going a way you don’t agree with or a work topic is being discussed that you truly have passion for, step up and make your feelings known. As long as you do so in a professional manner, your coworkers should respect your strength and your confidence.