When to act vs. when to ask

As a woman who owns and runs a private wealth management business, it can be a challenge to navigate the line between asking for permission and being assertive in the workplace. In the financial planning world, it’s important to strike a balance between these two approaches in order to effectively communicate with clients and manage your business. 


Asking for permission can be seen as a sign of weakness, especially for women in a male-dominated industry such as finance. However, it’s important to remember that asking for permission doesn’t mean you’re giving up your power or authority. Instead, it’s about seeking input and insights of others in order to make informed decisions. When it comes to dealing with clients, asking for permission to take a particular course of action shows that you value their opinions and are working in their best interest. 


On the other hand, being assertive can be seen as a sign of confidence and strength. This approach involves standing up for yourself and making clear, confident statements about what you want or need. In the financial planning business, being assertive can help you assert your expertise and establish your authority with clients. This can help to build trust and credibility, and ensure that clients are comfortable with the decisions you make on their behalf. 


So, how can you strike the right balance between asking for permission and being assertive? The key is to understand the situation and choose the approach that is most appropriate. If you’re not sure whether to ask for permission or be assertive, consider the following:

  • The level of risk involved: If the decision you’re making carries a high level of risk, it may be appropriate to ask for permission to ensure that you have the support and backing of others. 
  • The level of authority you have: If you’re the owner of a business, you likely have a great deal of authority and expertise. In these situations, it may be appropriate to be more assertive in order to establish your authority with clients. 
  • The nature of the relationship: If you have a close and trusting relationship with a client, it may be appropriate to ask for permission in order to ensure that you’re making decisions that align with their goals and values. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a new client who doesn’t know you well, it may be more appropriate to be assertive in order to establish your expertise and credibility. 


It’s important to understand the value of both asking for permission and being assertive. By choosing the approach that is most appropriate for each situation, you can effectively communicate with clients, manage your business, and achieve your goals. 

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are stacked against you, you should still do it.” – Elon Musk

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