So, you had a new year’s resolution of being more resilient and learning to stand up for yourself at work. You were determined not to be talked or walked over, and resigned to being generally more confident at work in 2016. No matter how much progress you’ve made, here are three easily implemented tips to stand up for yourself and be happier at work.
- Make yourself heard in meetings. If you felt like you were being overlooked in meetings last year, now’s the time to change the narrative, raise your profile and get yourself heard. This can be tricky if you’re working with a buttinski whose key tactic is to talk over others – but it is possible to get your ideas across without adopting their impolite approach.
- Make a brief list of key points you’d like to address before your meeting, so you can refer back to it if the conversation gets off-task
- Actively listen to the opinions of others to show you’re engaged in the conversation, and respond when appropriate
- When you offer your thoughts, sit up straight, speak in a loud clear voice, and make eye contact with your co-workers
- If a colleague insists on speaking over you, it may be okay to ask them – politely – to let you finish what you were saying. If you’re being interrupted by a manager or the CEO, it’s probably more appropriate to wait until they’re finished, and then steer the conversation back around so you can continue expressing your ideas
- Stand up to that workplace bully. Have the misfortune to be working with a bully? Any kind of victimisation in the workplace is unacceptable – which means you’re perfectly within your rights to call them out on their actions and let them know their bad behaviour will not be tolerated. Standing up to a bully in the workplace can be tough – particularly if that bully is your manager – but it is possible to do so professionally.
First, firmly let them know their behaviour is not acceptable. This may be as simple as saying, “please don’t speak to me like that” or “I really don’t appreciate it when you do X.” This is often all that is required, since most bullies don’t expect to be called out on their poor behaviour.
If you’ve attempted to resolve the issue on your own and their bullying persists or becomes worse, discuss with a trusted manager, your company’s human resources department, or a health and safety officer.
- Manage workload and expectations. If 2015 was a blur of late nights at the office and taking work home with you to try and get everything done, it’s crucial not to let history repeat itself. A poor work-life balance can lead to exhaustion, burn-out, depression and illness, so make it a priority to manage your workload – and your boss’ expectations. Schedule a chat with them to discuss your current capacity, explaining just how many extra hours you’ve been putting in to achieve your output. Explain that, while you are happy to be flexible to contribute positively in your role, you need to review your workload with them to ensure you can produce the best possible results long-term.
Offer some potential solutions, such as delegating less critical tasks to junior team members or an intern, splitting priorities more evenly across departments and team members, or streamlining your processes to work smarter rather than longer.
When you offer your thoughts, sit up straight, speak in a loud clear voice, and make eye contact with your co-workers