Conventional wisdom says that assertive people get ahead. They tell people what they think, request the resources they need, ask for raises, and don't take no for an answer. So what are non-assertive people supposed to do? If you're shy or reserved, don't fret. You can ask for what you need and get what you want, while still being yourself.
What the Experts Say
Managers need some degree of self-confidence to be effective. "The right amount of assertiveness, respect for others, and intelligence is what makes a great leader," says Lauren Zander, co-founder and chairman of the Handel Group, an executive coaching firm in New York City, and author of "Designing Your Life," a course taught through MIT. Yet, there needs to be a balance. "There's a sweet spot for assertiveness. If you're below the range, you're not going to get your way. If you're above it, you're not getting along with others," says Daniel Ames, a professor of management at Columbia Business School and author of "Pushing Up to a Point: Assertiveness and Effectiveness in Leadership and Interpersonal Dynamics." The good news is, "Being shy is not a permanent condition. Assertiveness can be learned," says Zander. The key is to understand the context, assess your behavior, and then make the appropriate adjustments.