So assertiveness is about relationships, and how we deal with, relate to and interact with others. Clearly how we feel about ourselves - and issues around self-confidence - will very often determine how we feel about and relate to others too. When we're assertive, we're alert to and take into account, listen to and acknowledge the needs of others, as in "I feel okay about who I am, and about who you are too". As a result, I'll tell you what I think, how I'm feeling, but I'm also interested in what you think and how you feel too. In this way, we're more likely to have a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship or interaction. And because I've asserted myself, said what I need and want to say, I feel satisfied and comfortable with it, and can move on, no matter whether you take on board my point/agree with me/agree to do what I'd like you to do. I am therefore less likely to waste time and energy going over what I could have said or done, or what should have happened etc.
Being Assertive At Work
How about being assertive at work? This can be difficult sometimes can't it, especially if asserting ourselves will lead to problems for us if we express our (possibly negative) views about our manager for example? It's healthy though if an organisation promotes a culture where staff feel able to challenge constructively and feel able to input their ideas and views. That way the organisation benefits, and the individual benefits too as we've been listened to and feel that we can make a difference/our contribution is valued.
The '3-step model'* can be useful when we find ourselves being asked to do something we're not 100% happy with, or we don't feel we'll have time for, given our other priorities or preferences or whatever. It can be used at work or outside work - I'm using a work example below. It involves
Step One: Actively listening, to show that you have heard and understood what has been said
Step Two: Saying what you think and feel
Step Three: Saying what you want to happen
However is a good linking word between STEP ONE and STEP TWO.But tends to be a challenging and unhelpful word
And is also a very useful word between STEP TWO and STEP THREE.
Step One: 'I understand you want all five reports by Monday'
Link word: However
Step Two: 'I will only be able to complete 3 by Monday and the remaining two by Wednesday'
Link word: and
Step Three: 'I would appreciate guidance on which three you would like by Monday'
This is a fairly straightforward way of saying:
'This is what you need - Here's where I'm at - Here's what needs to happen from my perspective'.
Why not give the above a try next time you need to assert yourself?
(*from 'Assertiveness Step by Step' by Windy Dryden and Daniel Constantinou)
Here's a link to our training page: How to be Assertive.
You might also like to take a look at this Self-Help Guide to Being Assertive from Moodjuice (Moodjuice Forth Valley is an internet site developed by Choose Life Falkirk and the Adult Clinical Psychology Service, NHS Forth Valley).
SMP's Assertiveness Skills training course provides strategies, tools and techniques for improving assertiveness at home/at work. For more details, please contact Marc Kirby on 0118 3283246, or via email. You might be interested too in our one-to-one Coaching Service.