The art of attaining assertiveness: Be a Stronger you!

Can you accurately define what assertiveness is? Go on, have a try. Even if you can define it, are you sure whether you possess it? If the answer is no, how do you go about attaining it?

Many people have different ideas of what being assertive actually means. For some the whole idea of being assertive revolves around exercising their rights all of the time. True assertiveness is more about working with people rather than against them, striking the balance between being firm and forthright but still being able to consider the rights and needs of others.

When considering the art of assertiveness it is important to understand the differential between being assertive and aggressive. Having already established that assertiveness requires balance it’s worth noting that aggression, certainly in the work sense, is based on winning at any cost.

Developing your assertiveness skills may not be easy but it can be done. Beginning the process starts with building self-confidence, a state based on an understanding of who you are and belief in your own abilities. In work environments people with good assertiveness skills are able to affect positive change for others. People who possess honed assertiveness skills generally –

  • Get things done – Having faith in your abilities is a great help when tasks are to be completed
  • Solve problems easily – They have confidence to take the lead when necessary and empowered to do what is required
  • Suffer from less stress – When you’re comfortable in your own skin and don’t feel threatened it’s easier to cope when things don’t go to plan.
  • Display empathy – They are able to react to situations with fairness and respect and find common ground by seeing value in others.

So, in order to develop assertiveness, these are a few of the skills and beliefs required –

  • Value yourself – Understand that you are as important as anyone else and also deserve respect.
  • Identify your own needs – Aim to achieve your ambitions but without treading on others toes.
  • Accept that you’re not responsible for everyone else – Even if you do everything for the right reasons you still won’t manage to please everyone. Accept that you’re still likely to upset others along the way, but maintain your self-control and belief system.
  • Receive compliments and criticism – Accept that you won’t get everything right so when feedback or criticism is forthcoming accept it with the grace with which you would accept praise.

Communicating assertively

  • Use ‘I’ statements – Basic assertions can be conveyed in a particularly assertive manner by using I statements such I want, I feel, I need or I believe.
  • Display empathy – Recognise others views on a certain situation before expressing your own opinion.
  • Escalate – In this situation you explain what will happen next if you do not get the outcome you require. For example you might say to an employee who is regularly late that if it happens one more time, the disciplinary process will begin.
  • Use delaying tactics – Shooting from the hip doesn’t always work, so if you feel that you’ll benefit from a delay create some time for yourself to think.

Other general communication techniques involve thinking carefully about the words you use in certain situations. Where possible simply substituting the verbs you use can make all the difference. For example –

  • Use ‘won’t’ instead of can’t’
  • Use ‘want’ instead of ‘need’
  • Use ‘choose to’ instead of ‘have to’
  • Use ‘could’ instead of ‘should’

Although not an exhaustive guide to the art of being assertive, the points above offer a good insight into some of the simple techniques that could be used to make a difference. This is a skill that can be learned and developed and as you gain more confidence, productivity and efficiency will also begin to improve. The key point remains identifying where the fine line between assertiveness and aggression lies and making sure not to cross it.

This blog was brought to you by your friendly team at Lanonyx. For all things Call Recording or Call Logging related, please feel free to contact us, or give us a call on 0333 0022 440 and we’ll be ready and willing to help.

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