Career Skills: Becoming More Assertive in the Workplace

Being assertive is an important skill for succeeding in the modern office or other employment setting. After all, few people will ever receive more responsibility, a better position or a raise without asking for these things to happen. While it is difficult for a person to completely change his or her personality overnight, the following will help a person to develop the assertive traits that are useful in the workplace.

Passiveness, Assertiveness and Aggressiveness

Before learning to be assertive, many people need to learn the meaning of assertiveness. An assertive person is one who speaks up for his or her needs, expresses both positive and negative emotions and does not avoid conflict simply to keep the peace. Conversely, a passive person is one who stays quiet and lets others make all of the decisions. On the other extreme, an aggressive person is one who dominates all interactions and tramples the rights of others through loud, rude and boorish behaviors. While there may be times that aggressive and passive behaviors can be beneficial, a person who is assertive is typically the most successful.


To develop effective skills, a person needs some real-life examples of when he or she is not assertive. By keeping a notebook on hand at work, a person should be able to come up with a few examples from everyday situations at work. For example, a person may always be given the task of picking up lunches for everyone else in the office. Picking up these lunches daily may cause the person to fall behind on his or her work and then be forced to work late to catch up.


Once some examples of non-assertive behavior have been identified, he or she should think about alternative behaviors that are assertive and would work better in the future. In the lunch example, the person may choose to tell his or her co-workers that it is not fair for him or her to get the lunches every day and the responsibility should be shared among those in the office. When choosing alternatives, it is important to keep the response short and to the point. In many cases, simply saying “No” can be an appropriate and assertive response.

Role Playing

Once a positive and assertive behavior has been identified to replace the passive one, a person should practice the scenario with a trusted individual. If no individual is available, a person can use a pet, stuffed animal or other object to practice being assertive. Making an audio and video recording of the conversation is also a good idea, as it is important to be aware of voice tone and volume as well as body language. When being assertive, it is important to speak clearly and to look the person being spoken to directly in the eye.


Though it may take some time, a person should begin to implement the examples of assertiveness that he or she has chosen. This should be started as slowly as possible to encourage success. Once a small amount of success is found by being assertive, it will become easier to build upon this success and to be more assertive at the office and in other parts of life.


3 Tips For Keeping a Fresh Workplace Bathroom

Keeping the workplace clean and fresh is one of the best things that businesses can do for employee morale. It is a good idea to have a cleaning action plan, either geared toward the cleaning service you work with or toward the employees responsible for keeping your workplace clean. Such a plan should include a bathroom component, and to that end, here are three tips for keeping your workplace bathroom fresh and clean.

  1. Add Greenery (and Care for It!)
    A plant or two plants (or more) go a long way toward freshening up your bathroom. For example, a bamboo plant in an intriguing vase adds a splash of style and sophistication to a bathroom. Do make sure that detritus from the plant(s) is tidied up on a daily basis and the water kept fresh. You may prefer fake plants instead, but replace them before they become faded or torn. Dust them too.
  2. Clean Ventilators and Replace Air Fresheners
    Part of making your bathroom airy and welcoming entails placing air fresheners and ventilators strategically. Clean the vents once a month, and change the filters then too. Keep plenty of air freshener supplies on hand.
  3. Balance Technology and Practicality
    Sanitation is a must for freshness. Therefore, install touchless devices that promote good hygiene. Examples include touchless soap dispensers, touchless hand dryers and touchless paper towel dispensers. Don’t become so high-tech, though, that you neglect practices such as emptying the trash frequently and having ample space for garbage.

By following the three simple tips above, you are well on your way to having a clean and fresh bathroom. Developing a checklist will help keep your cleaning action plan on track.


Why Monday is the Best Day of the Week

If you ask most people which day of the week they prefer, you will most often hear a response of “Friday” or “Saturday.” Many people look forward to the end of the work week, in anticipation of a restful and relaxing weekend where they are more in control of the hours of their day. They look forward to time with family and friends, and the opportunity to catch up on everyday chores. The weekend can be a time to regroup and prepare for the fresh new week ahead.

This is where Monday comes into play as the best day of the week. While many, perhaps most, people might not choose Monday as their preferred day of choice, it’s clear that Monday has a lot of positive attributes.

  1. Fresh starts are empowering. Monday, being the start of a new week, is similar to that first hour in the morning after the alarm goes off. It’s a brand new day. There are new options and a chance to start over with a clean slate.
  2. If you can embrace Monday whole-heartedly, you will have a great advantage over all those Monday-morning sad sacks who can barely muster the strength to crawl out of bed and face the day. Loving Monday can give you a jump start on the week.
  3. If you play your cards right, Monday can bring a renewed energy to your life. If your weekend was a time of renewal, Monday can bring that rebirth of excitement and enthusiasm to your life and your goals.
  4. The occasional Monday holiday is a gift. The idea of an extended weekend is a welcome and anticipated delight. A Monday holiday is a bonus event that is unparalleled by mid-week holidays.
  5. The pace of Monday is unlike that of any other day of the week. If you can hit the ground running, you will be far ahead of the competition. If you can’t be quite that energetic, the pressure to perform is lessened because most of your contemporaries are sluggish on Monday, as well. Expectations are lower on Mondays.

You may or may not approach Monday with enthusiasm. Why not grab life by the horns and get the most out of one-seventh of your life? Monday truly can be viewed as the best day of the week.

Why Do Ergonomics Matter?

Want a happier, healthier workforce? It all starts with an ergonomic office. Well-designed workspaces promote good posture and increase productivity while reducing pain, strain and stress.

Ergonomics Tips For Your Desk
Your health is important. Follow these tips to avoid workplace strain:

  1. Always keep your feet flat on the floor when seated
  2. Sit at arms’ length from your computer screen
  3. Position the top of your monitor no higher than eye-level
  4. Take periodic breaks to rest your eyes by focusing on objects at a



Time-Management: The Key to Stress Reduction

Mismanagement of time is one of the main reasons people are stressed at work. They worry about not being able to get enough done in the time available. The burden of deadlines and requests from their employer and colleagues leave them frazzled. Getting into the habit of managing time well can dramatically reduce work-related pressure and the stress you bring home from the office.

Be the boss of time
Take charge of how you handle time instead of giving others the reins. People will inadvertently control your time if you allow them, so you need to manage how you use it confidently.

Everyone has an agenda, and those who want your assistance won’t take yours into consideration. To handle time efficiently, you need to consider how you want to use it and let others know your intentions. Thus, you might set aside a certain amount of time in which to help them if you want, but only after your plans are fulfilled.

Think about definite obligations and priorities, and put them first. Compile a list of what you want to achieve and how long you imagine doing so will take. You won’t always guess correctly, but at least you’ll have a timeframe to consider. Also, leave time in which to unwind and relax. As a result, you’ll have the energy to do what needs to be done and be in top form.

Stop wasting time
Everyone wastes time, you just need to identify where you’re not using yours shrewdly. Some people allow time to slip away by checking social networking sites online and looking at their emails. Ten minutes here and there, added together can eat hours from your week. Others gossip with colleagues or chat on the phone long after business is complete.

Alternatively, you might be a manager who wastes time having meetings that go nowhere, when you could just as easily arrange short skype calls with employees and clients, or send emails when information needs to be shared. Identify how you mishandle time and ways you might manage it better. Consequently, you’ll discover you have more time in which to complete tasks than you imagined.

Don’t procrastinate
Let’s face it, you sometimes put off doing jobs you dislike, imagining you’ll get around to them. The stress of knowing you haven’t tackled them builds, making you miserable and tense. Also, tasks mount up or expand when they aren’t dealt with in a timely fashion. You’ll feel better, and have more time, if you deal with jobs you hate as soon as they arise.

Are you slaving away, but not seeing results? No doubt, you are extremely stressed. You probably imagine, since you’re working hard, you’re using time well. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Start thinking about what you achieve rather than the length of time you toil.

Hours of hard labor without satisfactory results are worthless. Thus, if what you’re doing isn’t productive, approach tasks from a different angle and use time wisely. Excellent time management is about making the most of time, and quality rather than quantity counts.

If you’re stressed at work, the chances are you also mismanage time. Stop wasting it and procrastinating. Also, think about results rather than imagining working long hours is necessary. Take control of how you spend time; you’ll be more productive, and anxiety will fade.

Bad Habits You Need to Ditch at the Workplace

Nobody’s perfect, but sometimes our bad habits can get us into serious trouble at the workplace. If you want to take a smooth journey up the career path, be sure to ditch the following bad habits and safeguard your job. By focusing on positive behaviors and relinquishing behaviors that are questionable, you can impress management as well as your colleagues while promoting your best qualities.

It’s one thing to be constructively critical about elements of your job, but to continuously infuse your negativity into the office culture is going to place your job in jeopardy. Negativity reduces staff morale and can transform you into a chronic headache for your supervisor. Even if you have cause to feel negatively about your workplace, it’s best to keep your feelings to yourself unless you can make a positive change with your comments or attitude. Moreover, keep in mind that some issues are bigger than others. You might do best to save your constructive complaints for those situations where they really count.

Poor Manners
In the work arena, saying please and thank-you will go a long way to making you into a pleasant colleague that people like having around. A lack of manners could mean you are unworthy of promotion as it signals a level of irresponsibility that would be out of place in the upper echelons of your company. Even managers who exhibit poor manners may find that their inability to “play nice” with others may mean they get overlooked when it comes time for the next promotion.

If you tend to get your work in at the last minute, you could be guilty of procrastination and poor time management. Procrastinating on a routine basis tells your manager that you are not altogether reliable. Moreover, last-minute work is apt to be of lesser quality than work that you spent more time on. To overcome the problem of procrastination, make a point of adjusting your calendar so that it reflects earlier self-imposed deadlines. Your company is sure to take note of you if you continuously turn in high-quality work earlier than your other colleagues.

The Talker
Conversation in the workplace can be pleasant and enjoyable for all, but doing too much talking can be distracting. Moreover, saying the wrong things (i.e. gossiping) can get you into serious trouble. Keep your chatter to a minimum at work to ensure that you are getting all your work accomplished and aren’t preventing others from doing their own. If you find that other work colleagues participate in idle gossip, do your best to extricate yourself from these conversations so you don’t earn a negative reputation for condoning gossip in the workplace.

Showing Up Late
Everyone runs into a traffic jam now and then on the way to work, but habitually showing up late to work or meetings is a habit you need to break. Be sure to get to sleep and go to bed on time so that you can wake up early enough to get to your job with time to spare. You’ll appear more organized and dependable if you regularly get to work early. Moreover, when you are constantly rushed, you’re apt to feel greater stress, which can negatively impact your mood and work performance.

With these tips in mind, you can better safeguard your career as well as your workplace reputation. If you know that you perform some of these bad habits, be sure to ditch them as soon as you can. If you happen to be in a position of management, you may even try to encourage your employees to remember these tips as well.


Putting Your Best Foot Forward in the Workplace

While knowledge, talent and ability are crucial to your success in the workplace, it cannot be stressed enough that there is an emotional and social component to a flourishing career, as well. Image and impressions can propel your career forward or send it into a tailspin from which you may never recover. Are you doing all you can to project your best possible self?

  1. Yes, you do want to stand out in the workplace. You need your talents to shine. It is also important to fit in while you stand out with your workplace culture. Abide by the general standard of dress, whether it’s formal business attire or ultra-casual. Find common ground with your co-workers so you don’t seem aloof.
  2. Don’t shun after hours social events. You may not be the type to hang out at the bar at the end of the workday, join a sports team, or participate in other post-work activities, but this is a valuable opportunity to network with colleagues. You never know when the people you know provide the next step on your career ladder.
  3. Work at crossing generational barriers. Those who are younger than you have fresh ideas and a different take on the world. Those who are older can contribute experience and a clue on how to survive the dog-eat-dog world of business. All generations have to work together and it is a point in your favour to be the ambassador of cooperation.
  4. Be the voice of optimism in conferences and meetings. Everyone knows why a proposed plan might not work. Try to be the optimist that wants to be gung-ho about the positive aspects of the new ideas. In other words, be a team player, not a roadblock to the future.
  5. Be inquisitive, on your first day of work and every day thereafter. Giving the impression you are always eager to learn will give you a reputation as a leader and a visionary. The future is always about change. Learn everything you can, even if it doesn’t seem relevant at the moment.
  6. Avoid forming alliances with co-workers. You are there to work, not to form a social clique. While it’s important to be friendly with everyone, it is equally as important to refrain from taking sides when it comes to office drama.
  7. Arrive for work every day with the same enthusiastic attitude you brought with you on day one. Don’t drag your personal issues or lousy mood into the workplace with you. You won’t benefit by earning the reputation of being moody.
  8. Keep your workspace orderly. While good housekeeping may seem like a silly point to ponder in the workplace, the first impression many people will have of you will be that of your surroundings.

There’s no question about the importance of putting your best foot forward in any workplace environment in which you find yourself. Just remember, a career decision made now does not have to lock you into place for the rest of your life. If, in spite of all your efforts to create the work environment that fits you and your personality, you still feel you are a square peg in a round hole, you always have a way out. Use your skills to find the almost perfect fit that benefits both you and your employer.