Assertiveness isn’t always perceived as a positive trait. Some people might take offense of somebody else’s strong personality and firm stand. This will eventually lead to conflict. There is a thin line that separates assertiveness to stubbornness. Being assertive without the conflict is a behavioral and interpersonal skill, and like any skills, you can learn it.
People who usually get what they want are not necessarily of strong personality. But they’re definitely not timid either. Of course, position and influence plays a major role in getting away with things, but having without isn’t good enough reasons to be passive. When working in an organization, being assertive is a must. This will not only help you in your career, this is also important if you are to keep your self-esteem and confidence. Here are some assertiveness training tools you can use to be more assertive:
- Know where you stand – Consider your values and stand by it. You can definitely apply it to yourself but not to everyone else. You don’t want anybody to impose their beliefs in you. That goes the same with everyone else.
- Jilt the guilt – When you think you’re right, you don’t have to have to worry that you might offend another person. Speaking out will let them know that you are aware of what they are doing, and that they are doing it wrong. Don’t feel guilty; you might even be doing them a favor by pointing out their misbehavior.
- Speak clearly and directly – Do not let emotion ride high when you’re expressing yourself. It is good to be emphatic but make sure that you are able to state what you want clearly across. Stop once you’ve stated your point. Anything beyond that will make you sound pushy if not annoying.
- Be flexible – You boss might not like your action plan as a whole, but certain parts are perfectly alright with him. Artfully ask if the refusal is about the whole idea or is it just on a niggling detail. If it’s a detail and you can address that detail, your boss will have a hard time rejecting that. This will also certainly earn you his notice, if not his respect.
- Patience – It is not easy to accept other people’s idea even if it’s a lot better that your own. Be patient. If your proposal is the best among the lot, everyone will eventually get to like and accept it.
- Ask nicely – People who usually get away with things almost never shouts or demands anything. They ask nicely. Assertiveness is way too different from aggressiveness. The former will initiate respect while the latter will certainly cause conflict. Don’t forget the magic word. Please.
- Give respect – Evaluate and show appreciation on other people’s idea as well. They might have a better plan. Probe further for their intentions; it might work even better for you. Be open-minded. If you still think that your idea is worth trying, drive for a compromise.
- Stay humble – Do not gloat on your wins. That might be your last. People will never give you another win if you will only trash on them afterwards. Having it your way doesn’t make you a better person than the others; you just have a brighter plan.
- Gracefully accept rejection – Don’t take a rejection personally. If you insist, try to analyze on the reason of the rejection. Was there a better idea? Were you overstepping your bounds? Try to assess the shortcomings of your proposal, and learn from it.
Being a push-over is something we all avoid. Passivity will never help us either, at work, school or even amongst our families. It is very easy to say that it’s the “favorite” who always get the best of everything. But stop awhile. Try to see Miss Favorite and how she deals with her requests. Nobody says you can’t imitate her.