Assertive Leadership

What defines effective leadership? John Maxwell once said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” One important leadership trait that demonstrates the ability to know the way, go the way, and show the way is assertiveness.

Assertive leaders clearly express what is needed in the right manner with the right tone after careful consideration of the team’s perspective. Assertive leaders are not aggressive. Aggression leaves no room for compromise, and aggressive people offer little or nothing in return for satisfying their agenda.

By contrast, assertive leaders consider what they need before speaking instead of reacting to a situation. They also consider other people’s perspectives before formulating their final decision, and this allows assertive leaders to address issues more comprehensively and achieve greater buy in. Assertiveness also involves standing strong in the face of criticism. Not everyone will like what you say, but assertiveness involves standing up for your beliefs in a respectful way.

Here is an example. Let’s say your morning huddle is disorganized and consistently runs late. An assertive leader clearly explains what is needed in an appropriate tone. “We all agree our huddle is not working. Here is what we will do. Starting tomorrow, we will start the huddle promptly at 7:45. I expect everyone to be here ready to go. For now, we will focus on pending treatment, bottlenecks in the schedule, and chief concerns of patients. From what I’ve gathered from talking with you, that seems most important. And during next week’s staff meeting, we will discuss how to fine tune the huddle some more.”

Effective leadership will make your practice even better. If you want to become a stronger leader, make it a priority to be more assertive.

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