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Asserting Yourself as a New Employee

How To Assert Yourself As A New Employee

What do you do when you know you are right, but a coworker that has been with your company for 15 years tells you to do things another way? Situations like these can be extremely awkward, leaving you feeling less than powerful. How do you deal with this power dynamic? Read below for three tips on how to assert yourself as a new employee.

Refer to your training

Always refer back to your training to assert yourself. People who have been at jobs for decades can often get a little stuck in their ways or even just forget new standard processes. Sometimes just a quick reference to what you were taught to do by your trainer can give you the confidence to stand up for yourself. Having proof also helps someone understand that you know what you are doing and following protocol. In other instances, coworkers may push back, go over your head, or try to do your job themselves. If you feel it is true, firmly but kindly let your coworker know that you are capable of getting the job done well.

“Help me understand. . .”

Even after referring to your training, a seasoned worker may still push back on your assertion that you are doing things correctly. Approaching any situation with humility gets you better results. Instead of saying “You are wrong because. . ,” start your sentence with “Help me understand. . .” This allows you to enter the conversation humbly and ask for advice with confidence. “Could you help me understand why you are you want me to enter the data that way?” sounds a lot less confrontational than, “They told me to do it like this. Why are you telling me to do something else?” Be curious rather than questioning when you assert yourself.

Resort to your supervisor

If you cannot work the “right thing to do” out with your coworker, it may be helpful to go to your boss and ask for their assistance. It’s best not to point fingers or assign blame—just tell your boss that the two of you have different viewpoints and you need direction. Your supervisor will set the record straight. It is ok to ask for their help—that is what they are there for!

Remember— always ask for help when you don’t know how to do something and admit it when you are wrong. Admitting mistakes or weaknesses when they do happen shows that you are self-aware and confident enough in yourself to acknowledge that. Be confident in your abilities, and do not let anyone belittle you! Looking for more work advice? Explore our resources here!

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