Friday, August 30, 2019

Assertiveness Skills

Assertiveness does not come overnight; it is a technique that you can practice yourself. Some people seem to have that ability/ skills at the core of their personality type which they imbibe through their environment/family, while some people strive to achieve assertive skills.
While most people say assertiveness is difficult to adapt for people with aggressive personalities, however, I think assertiveness is much adaptive to people who are aggressive in nature, if they are trained on how to be assertive. People with submissive and passive personality type have difficulty adapting to assertiveness, as it takes time for them to voice their opinion. 
People who are non- assertive types and who want to be assertive are mostly the victims of aggressive personalities and want to know how to avoid pressure from aggressive personality types, or how to stand for self.

What is Assertiveness?
Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive.
Assertiveness can also be known as empowerment. Assertive behavior comes from within, when you are self-aware and you know how to handle your emotions and respect yourself, you also get the ability to empathize with others, respect others. You acknowledge that just like you have rights, other people have rights too.
Assertiveness is making our needs and feelings known directly and respectfully, while also respecting the needs and feelings of others. It is based on mutual respect.
When confronted with an intolerable situation, assertive people describe it objectively; express their emotional feelings appropriately, empathize with others, and also offer problem solving alternatives.

Let’s look at other personality types:
Aggressive personality: 
Characteristics of Aggressive personality:
•        Bossy, dominating, authoritarian, intimidating, and loud.
•        Scheming, playing politics, ulterior motive in communication, reacting emotionally.
•        Lacks knowledge in giving feedback, instead criticize and make taunting and hurting remarks.
•        Always wants to be an authority and wants to be a winner, this makes them jealous of other peoples success and thus have poor sportsmanship. 

Submissive Personality:
Characteristics of Submissive Personality:
•        Lack of confidence in self.
•        Always scared to express feelings and opinions with a belief that they might hurt others if they do so.
•        Follow their leaders blindly.
•        Are usually people pleasers.
•        They almost always are favorites of aggressive people and become victim to injustice.

Assertive Personality:

Characteristics of Assertive people:
•        Assertive people believe in “I am OK, you are OK”.
•        Assertive people are self-aware and know how to empathize with other people.
•        Are considerate of others.
•        More rational than emotional.
•        Respect self and other people’s opinions and feelings.
•        Knows how to manage a situation and look for win –win solution.

Commonly when emotions are triggered people adopt one of three attitudes relating to blame, which each correlate to a position on the Okay Corral:

I'm to blame (You are okay and I'm not okay - 'helpless')

You are to blame (I'm okay and you are not okay - 'angry')

We are both to blame (I'm not okay and you are not okay - 'hopeless')

None of these is a healthy position.

Instead the healthy position is, and the mindset should be: "It's no-one's fault, blame isn't the issue - what matters is how we go forward and sort things out." (I'm okay and you are okay - 'happy')

Assertive communication style, a person expresses his feelings, opinions and needs in honest, direct yet firm way without violating the other person.

In situation of a missed deadline, assertive people might come up with their factual/logical reasons and voice it.

Non- assertive communication describes behavior where the sender does not stand up for personal rights and indicates that his or her feelings are unimportant, the person might be hesitant, fearful and careless.

In situation of a missed deadline, an aggressive response might be, “You always miss deadlines, if you miss another deadlines disciplinary action will be taken”. Such response has long term consequences, resulting in distrust between individuals involved and it will also negatively affect productivity.

Saying ‘No’ assertively:
When you communicate assertively, even saying ‘no’ when you cannot help others may not make you feel guilty or shameful. Saying no to other people assertively means empathizing with them first, and then putting your points with a logical reasoning. You are respecting other person’s needs and wants and also respecting your needs and wants. Understand that you cannot please everyone.

We all at some point in our life, fall into situations either in personal life or Professional life, where we say ‘yes’ to others while we really want to say ‘no’.

Your boss may ask you favor to complete a task for him/her; your relatives who invites themselves to stay at your place for longer, your friend wants you to help her with her assignments. You may think you are being ‘nice’ by doing these favors to their requests, but in reality they are exploiting you.

How to say ‘no’

- Just like they have the right to request you, you have the right to say, ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to their requests and if it’s a demand, still you are not obligated to do favors to people who are at demand level. 

- Be a good listener, listen to their problem and empathize. 
- Always give logical reasoning to why you are saying ‘no’. 
- Do not attach any emotional tags, the moment you do so, they might trap you emotionally and they will make you feel that their problem is your problem as well and then make the situation more difficult. 
-Give a reason to them why you will not be able to help, also give them alternative solution to their problems.

Once you say no what next?

Well, once you say no in an assertive way, the ball is the other person’s court. How the other person reacts/overreacts is their problem. This should not affect you or your assertiveness. Understand that most people cannot take ‘no’ from others positively. They either react emotionally or try to label you as not helpful person.

Being assertive is the core to effective communication.

 Develop your assertiveness skills by using simple techniques:

•        Be collaborative

•        Be a good listener
•        Communicate clearly
•        Win-win situation
•        ‘I’ statements – I statements can be used to voice one’s feelings and wishes from a personal position without expressing a judgment about the other person or blaming anyone. E.g. statements like; I feel…, I understand…., I feel upset when…..
•        Saying ‘no’.
Being assertive will help us gain self-confidence and self-esteem.

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