3 Ways to Stick Up for Yourself at Work

When it comes to getting along with folks at the office, there's nothing trickier than knowing when, exactly, to draw a line. What's acceptable behavior in a boss, colleague, or report -- and what's an example of people taking advantage of your good nature?

overwhelmed by work 

(Photo Credit: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr)

The answer, of course, is that it depends. There's no way to make a hard and fast rule about what's too much, because we all work with individuals, under unique conditions, in various different industries. But there are a few things you can do to make sure you're not either getting taken advantage of or putting your foot down too soon.

1. Practice advocating for yourself.

In The Muse, founder of The Job Success Lab Lea McLeod says that in order to make others aware of what you need -- or that their behavior is unacceptable -- you have to tell them.

"Otherwise, you simply reinforce their behavior," she says. "When you embrace the practice of having these difficult conversations, you'll be able to open up about what you need. Instead of backing off in fear, you'll learn to handle tough problems while treating people with dignity and respect."

2. Be assertive, not aggressive.

What's the difference? In part, it's about attitude. It's a mistake, for example, to go into a discussion expecting a confrontation, or coming from an emotional place. If at all possible, schedule meetings for a future time when you're likely to be calm, cool, and collected. Then present your case based on facts.

3. Be confident.

You deserve to be heard. Until you can believe that, it'll be hard to convince your co-worker or boss that your needs matter.

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