How To Be Assertive
Less stressed, less resentful and more confident
The goal of assertiveness is simple — clear and honest communication.
Assertive people express their thoughts directly, calmly and confidently, demonstrating that they value themselves and their rights.
People who are not assertive come across as generous and friendly.
But many secretly have deep resentments that come from not having the confidence to assert their own interests, desires and wants.
Don’t expect people to read your mind.
You’ll be less stressed, less resentful and more confident.
Know your default
Does this sound familiar?
BOSS — ‘Jane, I know its 6.30 but can you stay late and get my schedule ready for next week?’
INTERN — ‘Yes! No problem’
Jane said yes to extra work even though she had plans to go out with friends that evening.
Almost immediately, she begins to resent her boss for asking her and herself even more for saying yes.
A passive and agreeable response to unwanted requests is the key indicator of submissive communication.
Assertiveness is the sweet spot between submissiveness and aggression.
There are 4 distinct communication styles.
Aggressive — Arrogant, opinionated, and overbearing
Passive Aggressive — deceiving, insinuating and manipulative
Assertive — direct, honest and responsible
Submissive — agreeable, indecisive and apologetic
They key is to be understand your default and more towards assertiveness.
How to be Assertive
Being assertive is something which can be developed with practice.
When entering a confrontation, make sure that you have clear boundaries in mind and remember your goal.
Listen to the other persons point of view, and begin from the understanding that is ok to agree to disagree but that your opinion must be heard and respected.
The power of I
Use ‘I think’, ‘I want’ and ‘I feel’ to express what you believe to be true.
Be aware that as you become more assertive, people will become either dismissive or defiant.
Its not necessary to be assertive all the time and you should aways pick your battles wisely.
Dr Robert Alberti and Michael Emmons provide a few questions to ask yourself before being assertive.
How much does it matter to you?
Are you looking for a specific outcome or just to express yourself?
Are you looking for a positive outcome? Might asserting yourself make things worse?
Will you kick yourself if you don’t take action?
What are the probable consequences and realistic risks from asserting yourself?