Many individuals frequently struggle with the behaviour of tricky bosses, colleagues or partners. This can be a common concern in the workplace, and there are several steps that can help.

It helps hugely to have confidence as it is hard to be effective when we are not confident. So, if you do not feel confident, then 'fake it until you make it'. Confidence is not based on the way we are or what happens to us; confidence is how we see ourselves. In order to grow your courage muscles you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Being confident and effective means a combination of efficiency and skilled execution.

Flexing courage muscles requires a mix of skill and attitude. It is about learning new life skills and understanding your strengths and weaknesses and being prepared to overcome fear of conflict and getting comfortable with vocalising how you feel.

Once you are aware of your strengths you can use them to support your position. We cannot change how others behave or what they say, feel and think but we can change how we respond. Remember, courage is about practising sound emotional control and speaking with the voice of reason and sanity.

When it is a situation at work, it is extremely challenging and HR may not be trained to offer techniques, tools and tricks to deal with it effectively. HR may be nervous of the legal implications so it is difficult to know where to take it.

Standing up for yourself in an assertive, non aggressive way is about commanding respect and valuing yourself. We need to change our beliefs that we are not worthy of having our needs met and being treated in in a respectful way. We are absolutely worthy of both. By growing our courage muscles and using assertive techniques we avoid unnecessary conflict and escalation of the problem.

This may be especially vital for women working in a male dominated environment (although lack of assertiveness can certainly affect both genders). Karren Brady, Hilary Devey, Cath Kidson, MBE, Amanda Wakeley, OBE and a multitude of other female entrepreneurs have had to overcome adversities, financial constraints and social disadvantages and much more to succeed. Scientific research has shown that women may worry far more than men. The paradox here is women are on the verge of outnumbering men in the workforce according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, hence it is important that these concerns be tackled early.

Here are a few phrases you can use;

'I feel disrespected when you speak AT me'.
'I am not comfortable with you speaking over me'.
'I find your tone very aggressive and that is something I can't tolerate'.
'I need time to consider what you have just said'.
'I do not tolerate anyone dictating to me, speaking down to me or violating my boundaries'.

Keep it simple; less is more. Be ready to anticipate others' behaviour and prepare your responses. Be sympathetic to anyone who is a bully, as they may be hugely insecure and lacking in confidence to carry out this type of behaviour.  

It is all about having an 'aura of authority' and you achieve this by valuing your uniqueness, raising your self esteem, breathing deeply to centre yourself and visualising the ideal outcome you desire...


Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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