How to Be an Assertive LeaderYour leadership style sets the tone for you team for how you manage and the results you will yield. Assertiveness helps eliminate the inconsistent messages many of us convey unintentionally to our employees.

When you are assertive, you have a clear idea of how to get real work done, and you can communicate those expectations. It ensures you are clear, consistent, and understood by those you lead.

“If I had to pick one skill for the majority of leaders I work with to improve, it would be assertiveness. Not because being assertive is such a wonderful trait in and of itself. Rather, because of its power to magnify so many other leadership strengths,” says Scott Edinger, contributor to HBR Blog Network.

SmartBlog on Leadership contributor Joel Garfinkle offers a few tips on how to be assertive.

Surface Your Fears

What you let people see is what they will conclude. “Your fears will come through in your voice and your power will disappear,” says Garfinkle.

He suggests leaders flip negative feelings to positive with a two-column table. One column lists all of your fears and negative feelings, and the other turns them into a positive “I” statement.

He provides the following example:

Negative and fearful Positive and confident
I am afraid he/she will be disappointed in me. I can speak confidently about the results I have produced.
I am afraid I have over-promised what I am capable of doing. I have a track record of success I can build on.
I am not doing as good a job as Joe-Sally-Jim-Nicole. I don’t have to compete with others; I just have to be my best self.

If you don’t speak your mind ask yourself, “What’s the worst think that could happen if I share my thoughts in a civil, clear manner?”

You’ll see how absurd your fears are, and realize they are in your mind, not reality.

Always Prepare for Meetings

If you have a meeting or presentation, prepare because when you’re not, “You don’t own it,” says Garfinkle.

Meetings effect how you are viewed, so write down the key points you want to make and ask a colleague for feedback.  Meetings should be useful so plan and prepare ahead to keep them productive.

Show Your Confidence

Own your ideas because they have value and your results have contributed to the company’s success.

Garfinkle says your communication should come from a strategic, big picture level. There are many details and tactics to accompany that, but don’t get lost in them. A confident image sets you apart from rivals both inside and outside of your organization.

Many leaders struggle with not being assertive enough for a host of reasons. However assertiveness doesn’t mean you have to be aggressive or pushy. It means you stand up for yourself and your ideas, and you’re able to communicate in such a way that you get your point across without attacking anyone from your team. You are able to clearly articulate your point and what you expect from them.

Do you find assertiveness a beneficial trait in the workplace?