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Assertiveness

If you work with other people, you will, from time to time find yourself having to deal with awkward situations. At best, these situations can be tricky, at worst they make you feel angry and frustrated, leading to conflict and a bad atmosphere. 

These situations happen because your opinions, beliefs or expectations are different to others. They do not always have to end in stress and conflict. Your success in overcoming these situations is based on how you deal with them. 

The Assertiveness Workbook
The Assertiveness Workbook
How to express your ideas and stand up for yourself at work and in relationships.
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Recognise any of these situations? 

  • Unreasonable requests from your boss;
  • Being asked to work late when you have an engagement;
  • Taking too much work on because you can't say 'no';
  • Bullying and intimidating behaviour from a supervisor;
  • Feeling angry because your colleagues are not co-operating.

There are three ways that you can tackle these kinds of situation.

Non Assertive behavior
Non assertive people tend to withdraw from a situation. This is a passive approach that allows others to take control, and results in feelings of low self-esteem, guilt, and anger.

It doesn't have to be this way. You can learn to be more assertive.

When I say no, I feel guilty
When I Say No, I Feel Guilty
Learn how to say 'no' and avoid being walked all over.
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Aggressive behavior
Aggressive people tend to over react emotionally to a situation. They misstate the facts, accuse or put others down. They use hostile and manipulative tactics. This tends to lead to a negative outcome and encourages conflict.

It is a myth that being assertive is being aggressive. It isn't. Assertiveness involves a calm, rational approach where each person respects the rights and beliefs of the other. Being aggressive is an explosive release of pent up feelings, leaving no room for discussion or compromise.

Assertive behavior
Assertive behavior enables you to stand up for your rights and what you believe in.

  • The confidence to say 'No' when you don't want to do something.
  • Protecting your rights and beliefs whilst respecting the rights and beliefs of others.
  • Upfront, direct and honest attitude that is communicated in a mature and controlled way.
  • Improves your self-confidence and ability to deal with situations.

 Here are some tips to help you become more assertive:

Assertiveness at Work: A Practical Guide to Handling Awkward Situations
Assertiveness at Work:
A Practical Guide to Handling Awkward Situations

In a class of its own in demonstrating clearly and comprehensively how assertiveness can help individuals and add value to a business.
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  • Tell people in a calm, non-confrontational way about how their actions or behavior make you feel, without attacking them.
  • Start sentences with 'I' and say how you feel. Avoid sentences that start with 'you' and blame the other person. Eg, "I feel my workload is too great" rather than "You always give me too much to do". This helps the other person see things from your point of view in a non-confrontational way.
  • Be specific – your message will have greater impact if it is clear and direct.
  • Be honest about your own feelings with yourself.
  • Be upfront, direct and honest. Maintain an attitude that is communicated in a mature and controlled way.
  • If you are confronted with objections, keep repeating your message but acknowledge the other person's point of view.
  • Offer alternatives to reach a compromise – assertiveness is about creating a win-win situation for both people.

Assertive body language
Stand or sit upright and tall but in a relaxed manner. Don't be afraid to look people calmly in the eyes. Open hand gestures convey honesty and are disarming. Use a steady, calm tone in your voice that is not emotional. If the other person raises their voice, stay calm and don't raise yours. Take time to consider your body language.

Practice
Being assertive takes practice. When you are able to be assertive in one situation, it gives you confidence to be assertive in other situations. Start with something fairly easy. Maybe saying "no" in a social situation that you feel obliged to be involved in. Don't just rush right in with a request for a pay rise! You need to work your way up to something like that.

 

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