Despite the fact diplomacy is often needed in the workplace, occasionally, a well warranted assertive response is necessary. As professional women, we’re encouraged to break the shackles of being the paragons of poise to be more assertive on the job. Some pundits want us to Lean In, while others want us to tackle our confidence, or achieve work/life balance. Unfortunately, this advice may be costly.
A study conducted by VitalSmarts found that a female professional’s market worth dropped 15, 088 when she speaks assertively. Coupled with a 35 percent drop in competency assumptions based on forceful/strong behavior, this will make many women ponder the merits of “speaking up.” However, women shouldn’t be totally distraught by these findings. Some adept ways of circumvent the problem include:
Consider the Costs of Confrontation: Debate whether or not confrontation is truly worth a possible backlash. Is this a situation you can cope with, or will confrontation help solve the problem faster? Are you willing to leverage social capital with your team, peers, or supervisors to solve this problem? If the answer is yes, you want to prepare.
Freeze Frame Your Statements: Instead of directly stating your issues, preface it with an introduction. “I’m going to speak frankly about this problem…” is an example. Setting up a frame softens the directness of your statement.
Cultural Leeway: African-American women can take from the Olivia Pope playbook. Ironically, while women of most cultural backgrounds are penalized for direct communication, African-American women are rewarded for it. Don’t use this leverage too often, but know that you can use it if necessary.
What have you found useful in direct communication as a woman in the workplace?