Being assertive at work, love, with the partner and in any situation is one of the most important skills to learn. To have assertiveness in communication, one has to have confidence in oneself; otherwise it is easy to fall into passive-aggressive positions.
Sometimes assertiveness is confused with aggressiveness. People who always say what they think fall and who call themselves very sincere, although they seem to be assertive, they are not. Being assertive is not always saying what you think. Being assertive implies, among other things, knowing when it is necessary to say things and when not.
How to Be Assertive in Any Situation
Kelly (1992) defines assertiveness as ” the ability of an individual to convey his or her positions, opinions, beliefs or feelings effectively and without feeling uncomfortable.”
11 tips to be assertive in communication
1-Allow yourself to be angry
Being assertive does not consist in not being angry at things that bother you or hurt you. You do not have to repress your emotions, but channel them in a proper way.
Therefore, allow yourself to be angry, if you have felt anger or pain over something that has happened, you cannot force yourself to feel serenity and harmony because it would be against your human nature.
Rabies is not a negative and harmful emotion, but is necessary, functional and adaptive like any other. Rage serves us to combat injustices, just as sadness serves us to have a moment of reflection and introspection with ourselves.
So get angry, feel angry, but rationalize this anger and respond to it instead of reacting.
2-Express your negative thoughts and feelings in a positive and healthy way
Think of a recent conflict in which your wishes, needs and feelings were not respected.
Alone or with a friend practice how you would have handled the situation in a more assertive way. What would you say to him now? How would you tell? What is your objective?
Take care of words, tone of voice and body language. It will be more effective if you practice with another person so that they can give you feedback.
There are techniques that can help you be more assertive:
- Striped disc: consists of repeating a phrase over and over again until the message reaches the interlocutor.
This assertive behavior allows us to insist on our desires without falling into verbal traps or trickery manipulating the interlocutor and without letting we deviate from the subject that matters to us, until we achieve our goal.
For example, a salesperson for you to collaborate financially in a foundation and you do not want to collaborate with that foundation, say “thank you, but I’m not interested”.
The seller can tell you that with this collaboration you will help people who need it, and you repeat the phrase “thank you, but I do not care” over and over until the message arrives.
- Bank of fog: is to find some point in agreement with your interlocutor as facilitator so that later you can express your vision of the subject.
It is about recognizing that you agree that the other person has reasons (which do not have to appear reasonable) to maintain their position but still expressing that you will keep yours, since you also have reasons to do so.
With this, you will make the other person understand that you are being reasonable and looking for balance points, and that, therefore, your goal is not to attack your posture but to prove yours.
To do this, you can use expressions of the type: “it is possible that …”, “perhaps you are right in that …” “it could be that …” And then: “but I still
Think that …”, “but I’m sorry; I do not see it the same way”.
3-Communicate your feelings
Explain to the other person how you feel with total honesty instead of making accusations and blaming the other (if you tend to be aggressive) or instead of quieting to avoid arguments (if you tend to be passive).
Remember that it is not a matter of seeing who wins the battle but of reaching a mutual understanding that leads to preventing possible conflicts and maintaining a good (or at least cordial) relationship.
When it comes to being assertive it is important that you speak from your feeling and not from judgment to the behavior of the other: “I feel despised when I speak to you and look the other way” instead of “when I speak you look the other way to despise me.”
In this way you make the other can empathize more easily with you and not feel judged and attacked.
4-Use assertive language
The language you use when handling conflict is of great importance. You will get better results if you use phrases such as “I feel or I believe” rather than verbalize an absolute truth.
The use of “you always or never” is also a way to increase the conflict unnecessarily.
Body language is also of great importance. People perceive much more than we think the position, gestures and postures of others and provide us with much information.
A person may want to be assertive language content but if your body language is to be downcast and his shoulders hunched, the receiver can perceive their insecurity and not taken seriously assertive content.
To be assertive I suggest you take care of these non-verbal aspects of communication:
- Look the person in the eye.
- Keep your body in a straight position.
- Relax your shoulders in a conscious way.
- Breathe normally without trying to hold your breath.
- Try to keep your face relaxed.
- Speak in a normal tone, not a low tone, not a loud tone.
5-Respect the other’s wants, needs and feelings
This is a key to being assertive. Try to understand the other’s point of view, listen actively and do not interrupt.
Remember that if you do not respect the desires and needs of others it is when you acquire an aggressive attitude.
Let her know that you understand her feeling. Once the other person feels understood, he will no longer be on the defensive and will be able to reach a solution more easily.
6-Understand that people are responsible for their own behavior
Do not make the mistake of making yourself responsible for how people react to your assertiveness (with anger, anger, and resentment). You can only control yourself.
As long as you respect the needs of others, you have the right to say or do what you want.
7-Do it so that the relationship improves
It is not about seeing who is right, about getting more power or about who wins. In reality, you will feel empowered when you are able to express your wants, needs and feelings respecting the needs and feelings of others.
Be assertive to improve your relationships, make them more sincere, more just, more honest and deeper.
Passive, aggressive and assertive communication style
Yes it is true that the line between assertive and aggressive is fine, and sometimes one does not know when the assertiveness ends and the aggressive attitude begins.
Let’s see how they differ:
- Assertiveness is based on balance. It requires being direct with your wants and needs always taking into account the rights, needs and desires of others (Sheldon and Burton, 2004). When you are assertive, you ask for what you want but knowing that you will not necessarily get it.
- The aggressive attitude is based on winning. It requires that you strive for your interests without taking into account the rights, feelings and desires of others. When you are aggressive, you get what you want without hesitation and without asking.
- The passive attitude requires that you put the desires, needs and feelings of others ahead of your own. Those people who do not express their opinions to avoid conflicts, those who cannot say not for fear of the other offend, and those people who always expect to speak in the end, because they believe that others have higher priority.
Sometimes the liability ends up being aggressive when it has reached the limit of its tolerance abilities.
According to Brandt, author of 8 keys to eliminate passivity-aggressiveness, we learn to be passive-aggressive as a child. It usually occurs in homes where one parent is dominant and the other submissive. The child learns that if you are dominant you get everything you want from the other because nobody is able to tell you anything, and if you are submissive you can hide things and lie to the other to get what you want.
To better understand the differences; let’s take the example of a worker whose boss leaves a high pile of reports on his desk that must be completed before leaving on vacation.
It is clear that the boss in question has carried out an aggressive attitude. Faced with this attitude the worker can behave in three different ways:
Passive attitude: stays at work until reports are prioritized prior to your vacation. There is an immense sense of Injustice, impotence and frustration within it.
Aggressive attitude: it is carried away by the feeling of rage that the situation of itself generates. The feeling of rage causes him to yell at him, insult him, and even leave his job permanently or else be fired.
Assertive attitude: say “I will gladly when I return from my vacation”.
In the latter case, the worker is being assertive because, on the one hand, he is defending his rights and, on the other hand, recognizes the need of his boss for the reports to be made.
Also Read: How to Meet New People: 10 Tips That Work
Whatever the attitude (passive or aggressive), in both there is a same bottom of insecurity and fear. Passive attitude for fear of dealing with conflicts and aggressive attitude for fear of losing power before others. The problem with all this is that neither form nor the other serves to resolve conflicts but, on the contrary, to increase them.
Based on all this, let’s see what the characteristics of each of these styles are:
– It tends to devalue itself.
– Does not express what you want to avoid problems.
– Constantly seeks to please others.
– Accept unwanted orders or tasks accumulating resentment and frustration.
– Usually uses expressions of submission and guilt.
– Tends to express complaints outside context and person.
– It relates to others with demands.
– Accuse, threaten, and intimidate people.
– Interrupts frequently not letting others express their opinion.
– Tend to personal attack.
– He considers that the only valid opinion is his.
– Make decisions on behalf of others without prior consent
Assertiveness, on the other hand, offers numerous advantages:
- Feeling of empowerment.
- It does not make you feel that you are unfairly treated by others.
- You project calmness and serenity when it comes to dealing with others.
- Reduces stress.
- It is proactive. It makes things happen, instead of reacting to the attitudes and actions of others.
- He acts in a way that respects him. He accepts his limitations knowing that he cannot always win, but he always strives to do well in such a way that he wins, losses or withdraws, retains his self-esteem.
- You know your rights and responsibilities in dealing with others.
- Suppress submissive or aggressive language because you feel you do not need it.
- You are more likely to succeed in both the workplace and the social arena.
- You are able to resist and deal with the aggressiveness, manipulation, and passive strategy of others (Downing, 1995).
- You feel that you are in control of your life.
As I said, being assertive is not easy, but the good thing is that it is very trainable. For this, the first and most important is to know who you are and what you want.
Once you have this, you can begin to develop confidence in yourself so that you can be assertive, and in addition, being assertive will make you feel more confident in yourself.