"I think naturally, if you're an actor, there's a high level of assertiveness that you need to have to survive this business. There's boldness in being assertive, and there's strength and confidence."
--- Bryan Cranston
The word assertiveness has received bad press in this age of political correctness and ultra-sensitivity. As in the movie, A League of Their Own, when Jimmy Dugan, the character played by Tom Hanks, says, "There is no crying in baseball!" should be included in most business' Mission Statements. Of course, as business leaders you should show compassion and have empathy for any team members struggling with either work or personal issues, but there does come a point where business can become too soft and cuddly.
Staying with the movie theme, in the movie, You've Got Mail, when the character played by Meg Ryan is told by Tom Hanks' character, "It's not personal, it's just business," she responds with, "Shouldn't business be personal?" which brings us to our point. This sign industry business you are running is your business. You set the tone of what is produced, how it is priced, who is hired and who is fired, and what direction the company will take. You, and only you set the rules of how your business will be conducted. The business can take on a life of its own and coast through the years, or you can steer it to the success that you want to achieve. But in order to direct the course of your business, you must take it personally and be assertive.
"I've worked very hard at understanding myself, learning to be assertive. I'm past the point where I worry about people liking me."
--- Pam Dawber
If you are not naturally an assertive business leader, have no fear. You can fake it till you make it by applying the following five steps to take assertive action and set the tone for how your business will be conducted. It all starts with taking daily steps to implement these five things into your workweek. Within a short time, you will experience more control over your business and can then take more advanced steps at being an assertive leader.
"Ironically, while many of us spend hours every day using small mobile devices to increase our productivity and efficiency, interacting with these objects, even for short periods of time, might do just the opposite, reducing our assertiveness and undermining our productivity."
--- Amy Cuddy
First, immediately put an end to the control that machines as well as other people have over you. You are the boss! If your phone or other electronic devices summon you on a frequent basis, put those things away or turn them off. Sounds simple enough but try it this week and see how challenging it can be. Don't ignore potential sales calls, but if you are in the midst of a project, turn the device off or leave it in your car or office.
But how do you stop people from taking control away from you? By using the same technique of turning off your electronic devices-ignore them, or at least let them know that you don't have time for them. Assertiveness means being selfish as well as aggressive of how you protect your time and energy.
"If you are going to have to play defense all the time, you cannot have the kind of ingenuity, assertiveness, independence, and intelligence which is what has made our country strong."
--- Arlen Specter
The second step toward becoming a more assertive leader is to begin taking control of how the day will unfold in your business. Assertive leadership requires you to determine the mood of the day. Show up early to work with a generous amount of spunk in your step. Have a smile on your face and greet your team members by name. If you have a meeting in the morning, let everyone know that your business is going to kill it today!
Stay tuned for Part II of Assertive Leadership coming to your mailbox in a couple of weeks.