May is Mental Health Month: Assertiveness can lead to well-being

Good communication is key in every work environment, and it often starts with being assertive. According to the Mayo Clinic, assertiveness not only leads to better communication but also boosts self-confidence, strengthens decision-making skills and produces higher job satisfaction. 

While you may already lean toward one style of communication or another, everyone can learn to be more assertive by practicing the following tips from the Mayo Clinic. 

Study the way you communicate.
Are you more likely to speak your mind or wait to see what your colleagues say? Do you ever find yourself feeling resentful because your voice is not heard, or do people hesitate to go to you for help? Determine your strengths and growth areas, and then look for small ways to practice balanced communication. 

Do not be afraid to say no.
If you have too much on your plate, set boundaries for yourself by being polite and direct. Practice expressing your needs clearly by making statements like, “I do not have the capacity to take on a new project at this time.” Never hesitate to ask for the support you need. 

Be slow to place blame.
The purpose of being assertive is to state your intentions clearly without projecting blame or frustration onto those around you. Use “I” statements to speak your mind calmly and confidently. 

Think before you speak.
If you struggle to speak your mind, write out what you want to communicate ahead of time or rehearse your exchange with a friend or colleague. If you find yourself getting emotional in the moment, take a deep breath and keep your voice firm and calm. While emotions are natural during conflicts, they can prevent people from communicating assertively. Remember, you can take a moment to collect yourself or briefly step away from a difficult conversation before trying again with a clearer mind. 

Your communication style will not change overnight, but by practicing being assertive, you can gain confidence over time and benefit everyone around you. If you are struggling to make progress on your own, Dallas ISD’s Employee Assistance Program by LifeWorks offers confidential, secure training programs that focus on topics like communication, anger management and work well-being. All Dallas ISD employees can access these CareNow Programs, no contribution required.

Learn more by reaching out to LifeWorks at (972) 925-4000 or visit and click on Benefits Resources to access online EAP information.

*Source: Mayo Clinic

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