A good leader is always Assertive
Oct 30 2012, 12:54 | By SME Mentor
Let's cut straight to the heart of the matter and ask you this: Do you say 'yes' when you really mean 'no'? If you're a team leader or running your own business, you simply cannot afford to be guilty of this entrepreneurial 'sin', not with clients, not with co-workers, not with your employees.
Assertiveness is not something you can gloss over. And here's why. Over-extending yourself or bending backwards to accommodate unreasonable demands will ultimately compromise your team's targets, business goals and balance sheet. So regardless of how talented or creative you are or how astute your business sense is, you should also be able to assert yourself if you want to stay on track.
But do not mistake assertiveness for aggression. Being assertive means being outspoken, knowing when to put your foot down and standing your ground. It helps a great deal when politely turning down overbearing customers, managing business partners who are not pulling their weight, being tough on vendors who don't deliver as promised and refusing requests from employees. And - here's the tough part - you have to do all this without damaging relationships. If you have a sense of humour, well, that's half the battle won while, say, refusing to lower rates or dealing with irrational demands from customers or pushy employees.
People who have a problem saying 'no' are usually people-pleasers with low self-esteem. Successful entrepreneurs, on the other hand, feel secure in their actions and are willing to take the risk of confrontation. In fact, one of the greatest leadership skills that successful entrepreneurs have is the ability to be assertive in a way that shows strength and confidence without bringing other people down. Are you ready to walk the tightrope between getting things done while also nurturing relationships? No one said it was easy, especially since you're probably dealing with various types of people and their numerous idiosyncrasies.
If you feel you need to cultivate this trait, here are a few pointers.
1. Determine Whether You're A People Pleaser
> Do I really want this or am I pleasing someone else?
2. Define Your Boundaries
Don't dismiss uncomfortable feelings and give in to unreasonable requests that compromise your time and productivity. Assertive entrepreneurs always know what is acceptable to them and what isn't.
3. Keep Your Eye On Your Goals
4. Replace Passive Beliefs With Healthy Ones
Mukti Shah is a Clinical Psychologist, Corporate Consultant and an accredited Entrepreneurial Motivation Trainer.
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