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Standing your ground: Establishing your voice at workplace

Have you ever had one of those days at work where you decided you have had enough? Holding our tongue is usually the solution to keeping our jobs, but next time ask yourself this, “What if I speak up?”

By Maggie Mzumara

One of the most important aspects of being a good leader and a good employee is the ability to be strong and stand your ground in the workplace.

We have all experienced that one manager that “knows it all” and wants tasks done their way. But what if there is a better way? What if “their way” is archaic and inefficient?

You might have an employer that requires you to be a thinker. To become the type of person that reflects and asks questions so that you are better able to understand and believe in what you are doing.

Success comes through passion, not performing a task because you were told to. Being strong in the workplace does not come naturally to everyone, but it is a skill that can be honed and improved with plenty of practice.

It can be difficult to be strong and stand your ground, but if you choose the easier option, then you will struggle to win the respect of the people you work with.

It stands to reason that the more you do something, the better and more skilled you become at it. However, it is important to remember that there is a very big difference between strength of character and arrogance.

The trick is to consider the ramifications before you speak up, and choose your reactions and your battles wisely. So, says career consultant and author Andrea Kay.

“Many people are afraid to speak up because they don’t want to be the one to deliver bad news. I’ve seen people get promotions for standing their ground or sharing an unpopular viewpoint.”

You go into work everyday and at this point you should have an idea of how your boss is as a person.

If your manager doesn’t take kindly to being challenged, then that’s when choosing your battles wisely comes in to play.

“Sometimes just standing up for yourself on small issues can tick someone off enough [to] make life miserable for you. Most bosses do not tolerate any perceived threat to their authority. So even though the issue that’s on the table may not be that big, a lot of bosses are not going to back down.”

In this case, it’s a good idea to ask for a second opinion before speaking up.

Run the issue in question by a trusted co-worker who is familiar with your boss, or company’s history.

It is okay to have an opinion, and not everyone is going to be happy, but as long as you are staying true to the values of the company and yourself, there is no way you will lose. Not to yourself you don’t.

Source: Adriana Bartolone

l Maggie Mzumara is a media, communication & leadership strategist. She is founder of the Success in Stilettos, a platform dedicated to the development of women leadership. She is also founder and publisher of the Harare South Western News — a community newspaper founded to empower and lend a voice to under-represented communities in high and medium density suburbs in Harare. She can be reached on email: or Twitter @magsmzumara

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