3 Phrases Managers Need To Become More Assertive

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For managers to be successful, their team members need to respect them and follow their instructions.

It’s often difficult for leaders to find their place in a department as they don’t want to be seen as a micromanager, but also don’t want to be seen as a pushover.

A good leader is one that is assertive, yet fair.

Try incorporating the following assertive phrases into your daily work life to become a more assertive manager.

“This is a priority.”


Delegating is not an easy skill and one that is not natural for everyone.

Some managers find that it’s very difficult to assign tasks to their staff and emphasise how important they are.

It’s not uncommon for leaders to give out projects, only to get them returned late, missing an important deadline and making the manager look bad in front of clients, partners or bosses.

When you give out multiple tasks to your employees, you need to assert yourself as the person who decides when things are due.

Do not leave it up to your staff members to figure out what they need to focus on first.

A simple phrase such as, “this takes priority,” will provide clear and detailed instructions to your workers about what they need to focus on first.

“I will review and come to a decision shortly.”

It’s important to make your employees feel that you are a team and that you value their thoughts, opinions and decisions.

However, there is a clear hierarchy in the office, with a manager being the top of that hierarchy.

Your employees need to understand that and respect you enough to accept your decisions.

Although you may ask your staff members to provide their input on a decision, you need to make it clear that you will be the ultimate party making that decision.

Saying something along the lines of “I will review your suggestions and come to a decision shortly,” is a simple and direct way to let your team know that you are the ultimate decision-maker in your department.

Plus, stating that you need time to review the suggestions allows you to make your employees feel appreciated by knowing that you will consider all of their thoughts, instead of automatically saying yes or no to some or others.

“I don’t appreciate that tone, you need to find a different way to communicate your thoughts.”

Although it’s a common belief that employees are scared of their managers and would never disrespect them, many leaders can attest that is not true.

Some individuals simply don’t know how to manage their emotions, and when they are upset or angry, they can lash out of their boss.

As a manager, it’s tough to figure out what to do in that situation; you want to be empathetic towards the other person, but you also want to establish clear boundaries and let the other person know what is a not acceptable in the office.

A good phrase to use in that scenario is “I don’t appreciate that tone, you need to find a different way to communicate your thoughts.”

This type of assertiveness makes it clear to the other person that you need them to respect you, and that you will not tolerate the way they are speaking to you.

However, you also keep your cool in this situation, and not say anything rude or hurtful, either.

Looking to develop your management skills further? Check out our open management training courses.

Thanks again

Mark Williams

Head of Training and Development

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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