Unfortunately, the word assertiveness was once made pretty shallow, it was given a trivial and simplistic definition, which states that assertiveness is a simple skill or refusal. It is not true. Assertiveness is actually an attitude (resulting from the depth of human being, with beliefs of a person), in which consciously you express your beliefs and expectations, but with equal power of taking into account the needs and expectations of others. As you can see – saying "no" has only little in common with assertiveness.
How to be assertive, how to practice assertiveness at home and at work? Let’s look at best personal development tips regarding work.
Ask, what you really want
Always ask whether in any situation you really want to meet someone's request, or whether you do it under duress. If you finish your work late, a work colleague asks you to drive her home, you can agree or not. If you are assertive, you answer yourself honestly why you made a certain decision - you will drive her, or sentence her to wander the town on a night bus. If you do drive her- you agreed, because you like your colleague, or is it because it was rude to refuse? If your answer to this question is "Because I WANT TO" - it means that the first step towards assertiveness was made. If you refuse, because that's what you want to do, it also means that your assertiveness works. What counts here is your will.
Now for the second part of the definition - considering the fact that others also have their expectations and needs. Now let's look at the problem from the other side. You ask your work colleague to take your shift on Saturday afternoon, because you have a chance to go to hiking. Here you await a dissapointing response, because the friend refuses. An assertive person reacts as a person should - understand that you cannot demand sacrifices from someone against their will. Because assertiveness also applies to how we react to things not just how we ask for favours.
If you are annoyed about it, because you know that she has a night off on Saturday and will spend it in front of the TV, so really she could replace you at work, you have some room for improvement, because such behavior as sulking, being offended, indiscriminate comments, forcing a change of decision or blackmail are certainly not assertive behaviours. So - if we build our self-assertion, we must remember that we have the right to ask for everything, but the other side also has the right to refuse.
And one very important element in the exercise of your assertiveness skills - it is worth examining carefully, how, with what words and with what intonation you are asking for something or how you answer. Do you do it with a pleasant voice or quite aggressively? We give the other side a sense that their refusal did not hurt us, or do we respond with aggression and using manipulative emotions? Do we clearly communicate our needs or do we pass our intentions in a veiled way, telling the other person things half concealed so they need to figure out what we want?
In assertive communication it is very important to take care of specifics, direct and consistent message, in which you must present your expectations and give arguments which will support the request or help the other person make the decision.
On the other hand - if someone asks us for something, we do not have to argument our refusal. We do not need to explain ourselves. The same goes for people, who we ask for something. They also do not have an obligation to explain themselves to us.
Author: Bien Magazine