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Being Assertive

20th October 2016

Many people find it easy to be assertive in some situations, yet difficult in others. Similarly, some people find it difficult to be assertive with certain people (e.g. their boss or mother), but easier with others (e.g. their customers).

Assertiveness is based on balance. It requires being forthright about your own wants and needs while still considering the rights, needs, and wants of others.

It’s a key skill in building your personal effectiveness.

Use these 5 Tips to be more assertive:

1.    Understand assertiveness

Assertiveness helps to build self-confidence and provides many other benefits for improving your relationships at work and in other areas of your life as well.

When you act assertively you act fairly and with empathy.

The power you use comes from your self-assurance and not from intimidation or bullying. When you treat others with such fairness and respect, you get that same treatment in return. You are well liked and people see you as a leader and someone they want to work with.

2.    Value yourself & your rights

Understand that your rights, thoughts, feelings, needs and desires are just as important as everyone else’s, but remember they are not more important than anyone else’s either.

Recognise your rights and protect them. Believe you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity at all times. Stop apologising for everything – accept that you have the right to your own opinions.

3.    Identify your needs & wants

Don’t wait for someone to recognise (or guess) what you need – you might wait forever!

Step forward and ask for what you want.

Understand that to perform to your full potential, your needs must be met. Try to find ways to get your needs met without sacrificing others’ needs in the process. Aim for win-win solutions.

4.    Their feelings, not yours

Don’t make the mistake of accepting responsibility for how people react to you being assertive towards them (e.g. anger, resentment). You can only control your own behaviour and feelings.

As long as you are not violating someone else’s needs, then you have the right to say or do what you want.

People who say things like “You’re making me annoyed” or “I feel you’ve let me down” don’t realise that they are choosing to respond that way – not you!

5.    Express negatives – positively

Express your negative thoughts and feelings in a healthy and positive manner.

Sure, allow yourself to be angry, but always be respectful. Do say what’s on your mind, but do it in a way that protects the other person’s feelings.

Control your emotions. Stand up for yourself and confront people who challenge you and/or your rights.