Filipinos are all too familiar with authority and bureaucracy. Lower-ranking employees are conditioned to obey with no questions asked while higher-ranking employees are trained to lead and give command. I’m sure we’ve all had a eureka moment—a time when we had a brilliant idea that we’re sure to help the company. But we didn’t know how to get this idea across without breaking the chain of command.
The key to this situation is to communicate properly. We must be able to state what we think is just without being forceful. The Mayo Clinic calls this communication style as assertiveness.
The question now is “how exactly do you use assertiveness to get your boss to at least consider your idea”? John Baldoni, a renowned leadership coach, gave a four-step guide to using assertive behavior to win your boss over.
Below is what Baldoni has to say:
Establish your credibility
Baldoni states that the first step to get people in your organization to listen to you is to be a good performer. Doing your job well will make people put their trust in you. It’ll also prove that you’re capable to lead and carry out the initiative if ever it is approved.
Relate your suggestion to the company’s goals
For your suggestion to be considered, it must first be aligned with what your company aims for. It will be easier to defend your ideas if it does not go against what your company wants and does.
Casually tell other colleagues about your idea. Doing so will give you the first hint whether your suggestion is feasible or not. If it is, your co-workers are likely to support this and back you up when you decide to take a step forward.
Get your boss’ good side
Know his interests and decision-making style. Ask for your boss’ inputs, comments, and suggestions, and make sure that he gets credit for your idea as well. This will create an illusion of shared ownership and will make him feel compelled to support it since you made him feel that it’s his project as well.
At the end of the day, Baldoni reiterated that high-ranking people have the natural instinct to feel threatened or offended when they are told what to do, especially by people below them. But Baldoni also reminded that an organization thrives best when people acknowledge each others’ ideas and the first step in doing so is putting those ideas on the table.
If you’re still anxious, here’s a checklist of things to prepare before you bring up your proposal:
You can download the pdf version of the checklist here:
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