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Get Better At Being Assertive

Being Assertive

How good are you at standing up for yourself and expressing your thoughts and feelings clearly?

When it comes to persuading others at the workplace, many tend to oscillate between two extremes. Some people try to “aggressively enforce” their views, while a few others are passive and submit to the viewpoints of others without holding firm on a position. 

However, there is a good middle ground called “being assertive” that we should all aspire for.

When you are assertive, you stand up for your interests and express your thoughts and feelings while being mindful and respectful of the other’s point of view. You put forward your views in an amicable manner without compromising on your own needs while ensuring that you don’t provoke others. 

There is a mistaken notion that assertive people get their way in all dealings because they are aggressive and pushy. This is not true. Assertive people exhibit a positive, open style of communication that is neither submissive nor aggressive.

Whether you are an entry-level executive, knowledge worker, manager, or salesperson- you need to develop the skill to effectively put across your viewpoints without compromising on what you believe to be right and without enforcing your notions on someone. 

An Example

Imagine an acquaintance asks you for a favor. You have helped this person many times and are getting tired of it. Also, there is a personal project you are looking to work on instead.

In contrast to a passive or aggressive response, an assertive response would be something like this. 

  • Passive response- “Sure! I’d love to help!” (because internally, you don’t want to help, but you are unable to say NO.)
  • Aggressive response. “I’m tired of your repeated requests. I don’t know why you can’t do anything on your own.” ( You let your emotions get the better of you)
  • Being Assertive. “Hey, I know this is important to you. However, I am engaged in something else. I am unable to help you at this time.” ( A balanced and respectful response without being defensive or dismissive.)

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