GrowCFO mentor Catherine Clark often finds assertiveness to be an issue when she is helping aspiring and new CFOs. She tells Kevin Appleby why that is and what you can do to be more assertive.
Why do some CFOs find it difficult to be assertive?
Catherine believes that the rout cause of a lack of assertiveness is closely tied in to a lack of confidence and to imposter syndrome. We covered imposter syndrome in Episode 15 of the GrowCFO show
Often the new CXFO hasn’t risen to be co-pilot to the CFO, instead one of the other c-suite members is first among equals on the board and has more influence both in the room and with the CFO.
A new CFO may feel unworthy because she is underpaid, and does not feel on an equal footing with the rest of the leadership team.
What can you do to be more assertive?
We discuss a number of things you can do to become more confident and more assertive. These include:
- Improve the quality of relationships, take time to get to know people better and understand their problems
- Make time to think and reflect, often there’s more than one way to approach the situation and you need the right game plan
- Understand the other persons viewpoint, find out the root cause. Often the immediate issue you are addressing isn’t the route cause to their resistance
- You can’t change the other person, but you can change your own behaviour. If you keep approaching things the same way and don’t get results then doing more of the same rarely works.
The DEAR technique to be more assertive
Catherine has an interesting model to help you be more assertive. There are 4 parts to the request you want to assert
D = Describe the situation
Start by describing the situation as you see it to the other person. “It appears that…..”
E = Express your feelings
Next, bring emotion into the conversation. “This makes me feel………
A = Assert your belief need or want.
Make sure there’s an action. Not a place to say sorry. Be clear what you need from the other person. “I would appreciate you doing……”
R= Reinforce other person
Let them know you appreciate them. A thank you in advance is a great way of getting the action you want.
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