Recent research found that “less agreeable” people earn more than their peers. The authors of the study speculate that those who self-describe themselves as less “agreeable” than others may naturally be more assertive, which can have a significant impact on career mobility and earning power.
What does this mean for the doormat, people-pleasers of the workforce? Are we doomed to linger on the bottom of the totem pole?
Luckily, we can all become more assertive with practice. Here are some ways to get started:
Speak up. Approach managers about projects, ideas, and suggestions–and don’t be afraid to get shot down. The difference between employees who innovate and get new projects rolling and those who quietly plug along without making a splash is sometimes just straight up being unafraid to pitch an idea and stand by it.
Don’t over-apologize. Unless you do something disastrous, like light the building on fire or lose a client out of pure unbridled stupidity, peppering your talk with a string of “sorry”s signals a lack of confidence, which can damage credibility. It may be counter-intuitive, but when it comes to small, day-to-day things, bite your tongue when you mess up.
Just ask. The so-called “mean” people of the office may be earning more simply because they’re willing to ask for it. When it comes to job titles, responsibilities and salary, consider yourself your own advocate, shake off that timidity, and just ask.
Get out there and show the office jerks that you’ve got a skin as thick as their ego and megaphone-worthy ideas.
Is asserting yourself already second nature? If so, share your wisdom.