"I realize that as the quarterback, you have to assume some sort of leadership role because you have to talk in the huddle on every play, and you're essentially giving out orders to the team. But in my mind, I have to prove myself on the field before I can start asserting a leadership role."
--- Andrew Luck
In the April 15 newsletter, we discussed the importance of Assertive Leadership and included the first two steps to being more assertive: First, remove people (those who can eat up your energy and time) and things, (like digital devices), that have control over you and be assertive in how you control influences in your life. And second, take control of how your day will go. Set the tone first thing in the morning by being upbeat, greeting team members with confidence and a positive attitude, and controlling your world of business.
This time, we're going to include three more tips of how to be an assertive leader. But first, we need to understand that assertiveness doesn't mean being obnoxious, annoying, and overbearing with barking orders. Being an assertive leader means that you decide the course of the business and you don't let outside forces dictate direction. It is being confident in your skin while having the backbone to make crucial decisions, even if they turn out to be wrong. It is the opposite of a milk toast leader hiding in the office while others make the decisions.
"I always showed myself in the face of day, asserting the liberty and independence of my country, while some others, like owls, courted concealment and were too much afraid of losing their roosts to leave them for such a cause."
--- William Wallace
The third step in becoming a more assertive leader is to decide now to never sit on the fence. Take one side or the other and do it quickly. Allow time for weighing the issues and researching the consequences, but don't take too much time. One of the traits of an assertive leader is that he or she can be counted on to come up with a solution, even if it turns out not being the right one. Team members respect the quick-acting leader.
"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 number four step is to look for opportunities to collaborate. Being an assertive leader doesn't mean that you are on an island, working things out all alone. Assertive leaders call in others to help with strategies and solutions. They seek outside sources if they can't handle the task on their own. They are not giving in or giving up, but instead, they are pushing forward using resources to help find success.
Finally, assertive leaders walk the talk. They model the performance they want others to achieve. They know they are not immune from change and if they want or expect others to change, they mimic the change, providing a template for others to use. Assertive leaders take action, moving in the direction they want others to follow. Instead of simply telling others, "Go forth and conquer," they state, through their actions, "Come with me. I will show you the way."
"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary."
--- Cecil Beaton