Am I Assertive?
The importance of assertive training
Have you ever experienced the frustration of not having your message understood when speaking your mind? Sometimes we come across as passive, on other occasions we seem overly aggressive. Regardless of which, our intentions are not fulfilled and we fail to generate the required impact. It would seem that expressing our opinions clearly, concisely and effectively is more difficult than we think.
Irrespective of the possible ways of defining assertiveness, it is undoubtedly a key component in Emotional Intelligence. In general terms, we can understand assertiveness as the ability to know when, how, where and why we should respond to a given situation.
If our intention is to be more assertive in our work, we need to understand that technical competencies alone are not sufficient. Although our job requires many abilities, assertiveness is a crucial. Greatly valued in the labor market, it undoubtedly provides a comparative advantage over others. When you next see someone speaking calmly and with confidence, transmitting their doubts or concisely setting out ideas while respecting and listening to the opinion of others, you are witnessing assertiveness in action.
To understand the importance of communication skills, we need to ask ourselves how we come across in practice and what happens when we fail to be assertive.
If we’re not open to opinions other than our own, if we use authority as an argument, if we’re not prepared to share information or if we fail to generate opportunities for discussion or debate in an atmosphere of trust not only do we evidence our inability in interpersonal relationships but we also generate unnecessary conflict.
Although the absence of assertiveness may have different impacts depending on the level and the environment, the failure to be assertive will impact the perception of us held by others. It may be that we’re not appreciated as we would like to be or perhaps we don’t generate the confidence that we would wish among our co-workers, colleagues, clients or superiors.
Ignoring the scope and repercussions of our behavior or our communication style may give rise to a poor working environment and/or a lower performance with all its related implications.
Why does it seem so difficult to demonstrate assertive behavior? The difficult lies in our personality: how we analyze the situations we have to cope with, the appropriateness of saying what we are thinking and in our capacity to visualize and weigh up the impact (both content and form) of our opinions on others. We must ask ourselves whether this is the appropriate moment to expound on a particular subject, what is to be achieved by doing so. We need to think of the best way of broaching a given subject taking into account the context and those involved.
Improved communication abilities provide for a better working environment. Our leadership style will be positively impacted, the quality of our interpersonal relationships will be enhanced and our image and performance will improve.
When we are assertive, others take note. We give the impression of having greater control over ourselves, of being satisfied with both ourselves and of others. Furthermore, we are probably more successful and our interpersonal relationships take a turn for the better.
Assertiveness is a form of intelligent communication. Consideration should therefore be given to incorporating assertive training into ongoing training. We need to remember that assertiveness has now become a priority in today’s working world. Working towards this goal will represent a major contribution to your organization.