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Assertiveness – Building your Interpersonal Skills

Posted by Angelica on August - 31 - 2011 with 0 Comment

Quote of the day

The best defense against atrocious government is an assertive citizenry. – William F. Buckley, Jr.

 

The term assertive is defined in the Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary as “expressing opinions or desires strongly and with confidence, so that people take notice”. Communicating assertively is becoming one of the growing skills that is being learnt & thought in many developing nations. It’s a cognitive behavioral skill that has proven to help express messages across in an effective and affirmative way. Take the test on Mtstcil.org to see how assertive you are.

 

What is Assertiveness?

It’s being able to say “no” politely without feeling guilty about it because you genuinely didn’t have the time to help out. Assertiveness is a balance between submissive & aggressive to a request or question that comes up. It’s particularly important to have a clear assertiveness when disagreeing, confrontation, rejecting, requesting help, accept constructive feedback or standing up for your rights if you’ve been treated unfairly or unreasonably while maintaining a good relationship with the other party. Behaving assertively is not about overriding or offending others but rather about speaking out clearly and effectively.

 

The main characteristics of assertiveness

  1. Expressing yourself confidently & positively so that your message gets through effectively.
  2. Speaking directly or honestly rather than hinting or presuming other will make out your meaning. This encourages other to be open as well as they tend to respect your sincerity.
  3. Giving respect to others while representing your views while avoiding offensive behavior.
  4. Communicating distinctively to be heard & understood.
  5. Behaving openly & relaxed, keeping eye contact, proper respectful tone, participating rather than dominating, calm hand gestures, little blinking, smiling & laughing appropriately & using a neutral tone.
  6. Controlling emotions by remaining calm & confident so opinions & view and stated openly & effective.
  7. Benefits everyone who’s interacting with the assertive person by feeling good about the encounter & shares opinion with respect, won’t waste your time, points are clear, decision can be made thoroughly.
  8. Avoid judgments or exaggerations

 

Benefits of being assertive

  • Get what you want since you speak up and other will know your interest
  • Gain respect as you stick up for your rights, and have strong believes
  • Reduce stress as problems are easier to manage & and resolve
  • Solve problems efficiently as communication is clear and it’s easier to identify possible solutions
  • Improves productivity as a positive environment is created
  • Develops open & honest relationship & builds relationship based on mutual respect

Distinguishing assertiveness, aggressiveness & passiveness

 

Distinguishing assertiveness & aggressiveness

Below are the characteristics of aggressiveness that should not be perplexed with assertiveness:

  • Interrupts oftencharacteristics of aggressiveness
  • Rude & Inconsiderate
  • Glares & stares offensively
  • Crosses arms
  • Invades personal space
  • Speaks loudly for no reason
  • Gives an angry/annoyed facial expression
  • Manipulates or gossips to other to get their points across
  • Has an intimidating or dominating behavior
  • Often portrays a rigid posture, clenched jaw, sarcastic smile, feet’s up, a loud or harsh tone

     

Distinguishing Passiveness from assertiveness

Below are the characteristics of a passive person who fails to assert their thoughts:

  • Speak softly or doesn’t speak out at all
  • Doesn’t contribute much
  • Doesn’t observe eye contact
  • Accepts being pushed around
  • Avoid confrontation or embarrassment but feel frustrated in the long-run
  • Evasive, uncertain & indecisive
  • Doesn’t say no even when uncomfortable agreeing
  • Is Indirect & submissive
  • Shrugs, smiles nervously, hesitates, and depicts a slouching body language

characteristics of a passive personpassive person

 

How to ask for a raise or promotion

Here’s a step-by-step guidance on how to request for a pay raise by using the characteristics of assertiveness as mentioned in the top part of the article:

Step 1: Find out the Industry standard (applies rule #8)

Step 2: Conduct due diligence of your company to see if they can afford your raise or promotion (applies rule #3/7)

Step 3: Prepare yourself well by listing down & quantifying your accomplishment, skills, or improvements that you’ve shown in your employment (applies rule #1/2/4)

Step 4: Schedule a face to face session with your manager to show that you’re serious. This also gives the opportunity to apply confident body languages (applies rule #5)

Step 5: Have a plan B if your request gets turned down. You might decide to gracefully accept the rejection of continue to present other supporting documents like the industry pay scale or achievement which contributed to the departments or company’s growth or success (applies rule #6)

*Tip: Use “I” statement to take ownership of your request e.g.: “I think”, “I believe”, or “I deserve”.

 

How to be respectful when communicating

  • Start with positive statement before going confrontational
  • Show respect to positions or point of view and don’t belittle others approach
  • Present opinion/view in a neutral way without being harsh

 

What if assertiveness doesn’t work?

  1. Repeat to ensure understanding of the other party and give a second chance.
  2. Rephrase your statement as directive/commanding so the listener responds to your request.
  3. Add emotions to show your seriousness e.g.: “I truly hope you understand why I can’t present your case”.
  4. Communicating the consequences (not threat) if listener still doesn’t respond and then implementing when everything else fails.

 

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