Assertiveness is a powerful behaviour to employ. As discussed in our previous article, it brings many benefits to your role as an EA. Being assertive portrays an aura of confidence and competence, while ensuring other people still feel respected and acknowledged. How can you build your assertiveness as an EA?
1. Become proactive, not reactive
As an EA, it's essential that you're as proactive as possible. The days of reactive assistants are over. Assertive individuals know when they need to act, and don't wait for someone to tell them what they need to do. If they see an issue that needs rectifying, they'll deal with it. Remember to always think through your actions before taking them, but don't let fear stop you from stepping forward and doing what's necessary.
2. State your opinions
Practice articulating your thoughts clearly, or giving feedback to people. A part of being an EA is occasionally acting a sounding board for your Executive. Use this as a chance to develop your assertiveness by thinking through your responses and ensuring you're stating your opinion in a productive way.
3. Work on establishing deadlines
It's not always easy to get clear deadlines. Often, it's more of a hazy request such as, 'as soon as you can get it to me'. However, hard deadlines are useful for your role. A great way to practice your assertiveness is by ensuring the other party respects your needs for clear time limits and works with you to provide a deadline. State your request directly, and explain that having one allows you to work more effectively.
4. Take responsibility for your needs
If you need more information from your Executive around a task, state this. Don't let it slide - remember that your Executive isn't a mind reader. Unless you say something they won't know what you need and it'll build frustration on your side.
Don't assume others should immediately understand what you require. Let them know what you need and why.
5. Work on your posture
Practice standing up straight and facing the people you're talking to. Body language is a big part of assertive behaviour and your posture is proven to have a large effect on your mood. How you hold yourself plays an important role in how you recover from negative emotions for example, as found in a study published in the Cognition and Emotion Journal titled 'Embodied mood regulation'.
Changing your stance is an easy way you can begin working on your assertiveness.
If you'd like to read more tips and tricks that will help make your life as an EA easier, don't forget to head over to our blog!