While mentoring and teaching professional students during the past 15 years, there is a widespread bottleneck that students are seen to be facing. As a facilitator and instructor I have always believed in providing knowledge and insight as per audience’s needs and perspective. In each of my sessions with my post graduate, graduate and professional studies students, I always take a session-wise feedback of how they think the session should be benefiting them and what are their expectations from the time they are devoting to my sessions. 

Students enrolled in professional courses are pretty versed with technical and rule based principles of their subjects. In fact, they are thoroughly good with numbers and their standard study materials. But there are certain problem areas which are more subjective and behavioral in aspect, which these budding professionals face during their internship or article-ship. One of such areas is lack of assertiveness. Assertiveness can be defined as the ability to speak and express confidently of what is one’s self perspective about matters, ideas and situations. To be assertive means you elaborate what is your take on things that are being considered. Being assertive is not being blunt. Assertiveness too has politeness as its necessary tool. in fact, the more polite one is, the more impact one’s dialect has for being welcomed and effectively absorbed by the audience. 

Assertiveness is essential for professionals to practice on their workplace. It lends clarity of work and duties, confidence and peace of mind to the performer while fulfilling his duties on the job. Following are the benefits and ways to develop assertiveness on your work place:

* Identify your personal goals and targets. There should be clarity in your own capacity as a part of the organization, and only then will you be able to contribute some value to the team. 

* Try to have your work duties chalked out in a clear way. That way, any blurring in duties can be clarified by you timely which adds up to your assertiveness.

* Speak clearly. Any shyness won’t pay you. Especially if work duties are being distributed or some responsibilities are being delegated to members of the team. So if you think you can’t handle three regions, speak up firmly but politely that you will be most efficient and productive i handling two of them. 

* Don’t make false commitments. Now for the sake of being lovely to be heard by your boss, if you are making undue promises of performance, it is going to be expensive affair for you at some point. Instead, be assertive in what you can deliver and actually deliver it to enhance your dignity.

* Learn to say “I’m sorry, I can’t at this moment”. It might seem impossible though to say such harsh words on workplace when everyone besides is a yes man or a yes woman. What others do is a game of making numbers to come in pretty books of the boss but let’s accept it, what you say yes to must be done by you ultimately. You know your limitations and constraints and respect them when it comes to making work commitments by clearly saying i can’t to some duties and yes I can to the ones you know you can actually perform. 

*Have a smile on your face, always, and I mean always. I am not saying to show your pretty and bleached teeth-line, but a welcoming glow and enthusiastic smile is what really solves half the puzzle. If you work sincerely at your workplace and have a confident smile on your face, you actually create an impression in your boss’s mind that whatever you speak has a reason. So if you are saying yes or no to something, or if you are giving your suggestion on some issue being discussed, you will  be taken seriously and that is what assertiveness ends up in. 

* The legendary “yes, but” approach. This approach is about validating the other person while firmly submitting your take. Assertiveness is not about crossing others’ views and perspective. It is about creating a synergy of the opinions of all the team mates. So the yes but approach helps you to be assertive yet submissive while concluding that board meeting well. 

I have personally been complimented many times that I am pretty assertive and on a personal level too, I have found assertiveness to be a very fruitful trait to possess. Hope this experience based outcome sharing has helped you in finding the missing link between your success and capability. Good Luck.!