Business and social success needs assertive behaviours
Can you ‘speak up’ and share your ideas clearly, calmly and honestly and in turn respectfully listen to others who may have different ideas, opinions and points of view (P.O.V)? The best negotiators, teachers, managers, leaders, parents, Drs … have learnt these skills and demonstrate them daily.
Assertiveness: Empathy & Advocacy under an umbrella of Respect When things are going smoothly and the pressure is off it is easier to listen empathetically and ‘hear’ the other person, reflect what you see, hear and feel and calmly express your P.O.V. However when pressure builds, deadlines loom, expectations are not met … your internal stress ‘thermometer’ may begin to rise and you aggressively shout, demand or blame others.
Or maybe you behave passively in response to the stress of disagreements, conflicting demands and confrontation.
Do you avoid, shut down or ‘run away’? Are you are unable to stand up, express your P.O.V and say No?
Or maybe your response is passive-aggressive? Perhaps you drag your feet when you don’t want to do something
rather than say an assertive ‘No’. If you feel someone has taken advantage of you do you find a way to ‘even the score’. Or maybe you use sarcasm, sulk or talk about others behind their backs?
These Aggressive, Passive and Passive Aggressive behaviours are unhelpful and stressful and can make life more
difficult for you in your business and social relationships.
Assertiveness is a fourth style of behavior. You respond rather than react. You have mastered the self-confidence,
authenticity and empathy of assertiveness, aided by your ‘tool kit’ of assertive skills to stay cool, calm and collected
even when the world around you is falling apart. You can express your opinions in an open, honest and appropriate
manner. You can ask others for help and say No to others requests and negotiate a compromise, or better still find a
mutual win-win solution.
Do you recognize yourself, your colleagues, family and friends in any of these four behaviour types? We all have a repertoire of behaviours that we first learned as a child. And as we grow we add more behaviours from our family,
peers, colleagues, the TV and the movies as we seek to find role models, some good and others less so.
Do your behaviours serve you well?
Learning assertive conversation skills are key to achieving success however you measure this. Using ‘appropriate’
assertive skills for the situation gives you freedom to be more effective in all areas of your life.
How do you behave assertively?
Remember your ABCs.
A = Attitude – check your mind is open and positive.
B = Breathe to release stress, anxiety and get oxygen to your brain.
C = Centre yourself and become calm.
Add the 3Rs: Resourceful, Respectful and Respond (rather than react) and you are well on your way to handling
situations without being forceful or defensive. You can respectfully ask for what you want, say no to what you don’t
want and help others get what they want too.
Yvonne Collier CSP is an accomplished trainer, facilitator, coach and author. An award
winning speaker, Yvonne was 2004 to 2005 NSW & ACT President of the National
Speakers Association of Australia and five years as a NSAA Board Member. Each month
since 1997 she has conducted assertive skills workshops for Sydney University Centre
for Continuing Education and in-house training in people skills.