Six Step Plan for Finding Your Voice in the Office

Julie Shenkman
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One of the primary challenges in the workplace is learning how to voice your opinion and maintain professionalism and credibility. The risk of offending bosses and coworkers often keeps administrative assistants quiet and even voiceless in the workplace. Employee empowerment begins with taking the risk to voice your opinion and learning that what you have to say matters.

1. It may be difficult to speak up and ask for a raise, voice a concern about the workplace environment or express an opinion that differs from your superiors. Find your voice as an administrative assistant by practicing the words out loud, suggests Bonnie Low-Kramen with Glassdoor. Rehearse phrases to say, write a script to ensure you are communicating professionally and pay close attention to body language to make sure the message matches your actions.

2. Timing is everything when it comes to voicing your concerns. Learn to choose the right moment and pick your battles. Ask for time alone with the individual, and begin with a phrase that is less confrontational, such as "Can we talk?" Employee empowerment is often gained when administrative assistants isolate the individual to express ideas or frustration professionally and in a timely manner.

3. Get to the point when attempting to find your voice in the workplace. Keep a calm and cool demeanor, and provide specific, factual examples when discussing the problems. Offer solutions to show that you have problem-solving skills. Administrative assistants are often required to take on the role of a problem solver, and management expects employees to brainstorm and present clear-cut solutions to improve the workplace culture and productivity.

4. Avoid playing the blame game when speaking up in the workplace. Speak only on your own behalf, and do not drag other employees into the conversation.

5. Prepare for the conversation by putting your concerns and ideas on paper. This provides documentation your supervisor can refer to when addressing the problem. Include your proposed solutions as well to create a clear record of everything that you want to discuss.

6. Listen actively to what the other person has to say. A key element of a successful problem-solving session is refraining from talking and allowing your supervisor or coworker to respond. Resist the urge to fill any silence that may occur, and show professionalism by actively listening to responses, even if they are not what you want to hear.

Find your voice in the workplace to express your commitment and loyalty to the company's growth and the well-being of the company's culture. Administrative assistants who can professionally outline processes and procedures that are negatively impacting the workplace can gain respect within their positions, becoming key communicators upon whom others rely to resolve problems effectively.


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