How to Keep it Cute to Progress: Asserting Yourself with Professionalism

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How to Keep it Cute to Progress: Asserting Yourself with Professionalism

By: Briana Elmore

Dear Twenty Somethins,

It’s a great attribute to be assertive, while you are out here shaping your career path on your way to and beyond your boss status. Asserting yourself early on will allow you to set professional boundaries and identify your intentions. However, each game has a code to follow. This means that you have to have the correct approach in assertion of self while navigating and creating your own path for your career. It goes back to the age old saying “you get more flies with honey than with vinegar”; meaning you have to know how to play the game and when to change the game to fit your vision.

There is a fine line between asserting yourself and potentially losing the bag you’ve worked to secure. For example, everybody’s favorite auntie Monique asserted herself by taking a stand against Netflix and other leaders in Hollywood but her delivery was whack and that led her to becoming a meme for weeks, leaving her valid points overshadowed and forgotten. You want to reach your supervisors, target demographic and peers alike in a way that they will not only hear you out on things, but they will respect your perspective.

Don’t get me wrong, by no means is this a call for you to dilute yourself or be meek and mild mannered, it is simply a self marketing tool to not only show them why you belong there, but also why you deserve to run the show. There is strength in restraint and tact that can push you to new heights. You have to be you at all times but you also have to be versatile in your career. You have to marketable from the brunch to the boardroom and tactful assertion of self will get you there.

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To better navigate your assertion of self, do a self assessment with the following Do’s and Don’ts of Self Assertion

Don’ts:

1. Do not confuse rudeness with honesty

It is important to have honesty in the workplace. However, with any communication method used, it is important to have tact and decorum to get your point across. This can sometimes be difficult but it will show more for your personal development to not be offensive while expressing yourself. If sending an email, write out everything that you need to say and then do an active edit to add some honey to your point. If in person, try to actively listen to the other party to gage how you are coming off or being perceived and take a moment before you express yourself further.

2. Do not allow yourself to be led by your emotions.

If you are upset or feeling an emotion outside or your norm, it is ok to take a second to gather yourself. In taking this moment, you can reflect on what is the cause of your shift in emotion. No matter the cause of your emotions at the time, try to get your work done in the most professional way possible. If you find yourself in emotional distress, please make your manager aware so that you are able to also take the opportunity to have proper self care.

3. Do not allow your personal life to intertwine with your professional life to the extent that it hinders your growth both at home and at work.

Keep your personal matters personal. It is important that you have separation between the two so that you can have existence professionally and personally. It is ok to turn off your professional self to enjoy your personal life and vice versa. It is always a balancing act between the two but it is for the best to not allow yourself to get too personal at work so that your focus can be your professional pursuit while in the workplace.

Do’s:

1. Make your points clear and concise for a plethora of audiences.

If you have clarity in whatever your points are while you're articulating your points, be it in favor or opposition to something in the workplace, it shows that you have properly educated yourself on the issue at hand. This practice adds thoughtful contribution to the matter and can help qualify you for promotion.

2. Have definitive confidence in your work.

Be sure of yourself. You belong in your position and walk in that confidence of self. Put your best foot forward with all of your projects to establish a high quality of work produced.

3. Always operate with integrity.

Make sure you are operating in an honest and hardworking effort even when no one is looking. It is an invaluable attribute to have professional integrity. With professional integrity, your place of work can trust you with the responsibility of promotion.

There are many times that we may feel that we do not control our own futures in our careers but that notion could not be further from the truth. We have to be assertive but we must possess the tact, determination, and maturity to go to our desired next levels.