Some people are naturally more assertive than others. And those less assertive face the risk of finding themselves in a position of a pushover. Do you feel like you are an easily defeated person? Or maybe you say “yes” to anything at your work? This could be a sign that something needs to be changed.
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So what does the word pushover entails? A pushover is a person who can be taken advantage of at work. Someone who takes more responsibilities than they have to and says “yes” to every request, even if it is out of their area of duties. Pushovers may be afraid to upset their boss or colleagues. So they take on too much work, get swept away with more than they can handle, and risk burning out.
It might be challenging to recognize yourself as a pushover at work because it is not easy to come to terms with. This is not exactly a pleasant word. No one wants to think that they are being taken advantage of. Also, it might be difficult to distinguish between a pushover and a hard worker. Maybe you want to succeed and be a valuable part of the team. But it is essential to recognize specific signs and set healthy boundaries.
Being a pushover is harmful to you most of all. If you push yourself too hard and do not learn from your mistakes, you can end up burnt out and resentful of your job. It can easily affect your mental and physical state, as well as endanger your position at the company. Not to mention that taking too much responsibility results in lower quality of work.
A pushover might experience a loss of respect from colleagues and superiors. If you are an easily persuaded person that cannot resist pressure, your colleagues are less likely to respect your opinion. Others might think that you are easily played and will do any task. Others will only do the same if you respect your time and boundaries.
This might result in a pushover being unable to get a higher position or better salary because your opponent might be more persistent, confident, and opinionated. For them, it is easy to fight for their interests.
Mental and physical health consequences result in poor performance. Pushovers might get tired of overworking themselves and feel like their careers head nowhere. You do one task after another, yet others do not recognize your contribution. You feel like you put more effort in, but it goes unnoticed.
It creates a hostile environment for you and others. Those who take advantage of pushovers need more accountability and can easily start slacking on their duties.
There is no shame in admitting that you are an easily defeated person. It might be hard for you to push your interests, rights, and priorities. If you’ve found yourself in a position of a pushover, it is not a defeat. It is just a signal that you need to make changes and firmly prioritize yourself and personal boundaries. Here is how you can stop being a pushover person and get over unquestioning obedience.
In the office world, there are physical and mental boundaries a person needs to set. First, to be less pushover, set your working hours straight and stick to them. Do not attend “after-hours” working events. Do not overwork for no extra payment when it is not necessary. Only take tasks for workdays, even if they sound easy to do.
Learn to say “no”. Yes, it can be tough to mark your ground. But as with any skill, it comes with practice. The more you do it, the easier it will become. Offer an alternative solution without taking all responsibility for yourself.
Also, create signals that would identify others that you are busy. Some examples are closing cabinet doors or wearing headphones.
Pushover cannot stand its ground. So not to be one, you need to become a better negotiator. If you are in a complex situation, be logical, calm, and argumentative. Is it an easy task? You might help with it after you’re done with all your direct duties.
Is a colleague unable to do it themselves? Politely recommend they ask a supervisor for help. Standing for your priorities takes work, but earning respect and being valued for your effort is essential.
Communication is the key to resolving many issues. If you feel like a pushover, consider talking about it with colleagues or superiors. Make sure you can let others know why you cannot take this another short and easy project. Be precise about your schedule, workload, and examples of your performance.
Set your own priorities in terms of career and performance. Make sure you are putting yourself first to not become a pushover. Do not push yourself into something you do not like or do not have time for.
Sometimes one can become a pushover because they do not believe in their worth. Those do not value their expertise and skills. This might signify low self-esteem, which can harm their career and performance.
Remember that you are a qualified professional whose word and opinion matter. Others do not define you.
Recognizing the signs of being a pushover is the first step to taking control of your career and standing up for yourself.