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Assertiveness in the workplace

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Assertiveness in the workplace

Luxury lifestyle expert Paul Russell www.officialpaulrussell.com helps individuals to navigate professional and social situations with ease. Paul offered this advice on being assertive in the workplace.

They’re very assertive you might hear someone say with a sneer, using assertive as a euphemism for overbearing, aggressive and rude. But assertiveness doesn’t mean any of these things. Being assertive means communicating your thoughts, feelings and ideas effectively and in turn hearing these from others. When you’re assertive you will not only have greater self-esteem and more honest relationships with those around you, but you will be better able to deal with the potential stress of the workplace. We look at how to make assertiveness work for you.

The biggest pitfall in assertive behaviour is not understanding that it is a two way process. Assertiveness is, in effect, a communication style; a way that we choose to communicate with others that allows us to express our genuine needs and wants. All too often though, people get far too caught up in their own part of assertiveness. They become entirely wrapped up in saying what they want to say and asserting their rights that they forget the other fundamental part of assertiveness- which is realising that others have these rights too. Without this understanding, assertiveness can quickly descend into unhelpful workplace behaviours like aggression and conflict.

We shouldn’t be afraid to be assertive, but we should use it wisely. When we are assertive, we must expect and plan for others to be assertive too. This means knowing how to listen properly, not just wait for your moment to talk again but genuinely listen and hear what is being said. Take a moment, think it through and don’t be afraid to say that you think it would be useful to schedule a time or meeting to discuss things further to give you a little more time to process the information.

Another misconception of assertiveness is that it means winning; if you are assertive and say what you think should happen then this will be the outcome but this isn’t necessarily the case. With assertiveness comes both negotiation and compromise. You are giving your thoughts and hearing those of others and from here you need to develop a plan that works for all parties. Often assertiveness fails because people are quite happy to start the conversation, yet don’t have the skills to finish it effectively. Empathy is key, if you can look at a scenario from someone else’s perspective then you have a better chance of understanding how you might be able to resolve things successfully.

Of course, assertiveness isn’t always about solving issues or dealing with negativity, you can be proactively assertive about positive things too. This means speaking up in meetings, saying what you think will work and being generally open, honest and clear about your ideas as well as receptive and encouraging of others. People respond well to this open communication style and when you utilise assertiveness in this way, it can help you to develop stronger relationships with those around you and engender greater support.

Those that avoid assertiveness do so for any number of reasons but the main one is that they fear it will escalate into conflict as this is something that they feel ill-equipped for. It is useful to remember that not only does everyone have a right to express their opinions in a calm, clear and controlled way but that they also have the right to be treated with respect and dignity. If you are being assertive in the right way as part of a two way process, then there is no reason for it to escalate into conflict. In the majority of cases, when others see that you are ready to listen and you demonstrate this both through your verbal and non-verbal communication, then they too will be ready to be appropriately assertive.

Learning to use assertive behaviour means changing how you think about communication. Whilst avoiding situations might seem like a sensible option to keep the peace, it can actually lead to greater issues further down the line. Assertive communication doesn’t mean that you have to reveal every single thought and feeling that you possess, but that you feel able to share your opinion and in turn hear the opinions of others. This is fundamental to not only successful communication, but effective working relationships. Whether you veer too much towards aggression or too much towards avoidance, both behaviours are ultimately unhelpful at work. Learning to be assertive in an appropriate way takes time, but training in communication and conflict management can absolutely give you the confidence to utilise assertiveness to excellent effect in the workplace.

Paul Russell is a luxury expert and etiquette coach who works with private clients and high net worth individuals in the art of correct behaviour.  He is co-founder and managing director of Luxury Academy, a multi-national company, specialising in soft skills training for the luxury market. Luxury Academy have offices in London, Delhi, Visakhapatnam and Mumbai. Prior to founding Luxury Academy, Paul worked in senior leadership roles across Europe, United States, Middle East and Asia. A dynamic trainer and speaker, Paul regularly delivers keynotes globally on a variety of luxury and behavioural topics.

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.

Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.

The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.

Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.

Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.

“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.

Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.

“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.

“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”

Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.

He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.

“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.

Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.

“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of State’s (Dowden’s) assertion that the government’s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.

It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.

Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)

 

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.

“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.

Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.

Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.

The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.

“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.

The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.

It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.

“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.

“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”

SCALING UP

Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.

“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.

A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.

“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.

The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.

($1 = 0.7064 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)

 

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