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Assertiveness is the ability to honestly express your thoughts, feelings and beliefs in a way that does not disregard the rights of others. Being assertive involves advocating your opinions in a clear and reasonable way that is positive and proactive, rather than aggressive.
Aggressive communication usually loses respect in the workplace and decreases the chance of successful negotiations. Conversely, an assertive communication style is about respecting the rights of colleagues and actively looking for a win-win outcome for all parties. Taking into account others' perspectives and points of view is important and being open to the fact that you might be wrong shows strength.
Assertiveness can help you get what you deserve whilst maintaining respect. If you want a salary increase, you need to present the facts. Make sure to do your homework first.
To become more assertive, you must acknowledge that being assertive is an essential skill. Identify situations when you were unable to express your beliefs or opinions then think of a tactful way of how you could have approached these situations. Discuss this with a mentor, friend or coach. Initially, practice your insights in easier, less stressful situations so you learn to modify and make adjustments when being assertive in more critical situations.
There are several resources and a vast literature on how to handle difficult situations, but the challenging part is putting what you have read into practice. Therefore, discussing and implementing as much as possible is key. Again, a third party who can give an unbiased view is incredibly helpful here.
If we develop the skills of being assertive, then we are more able to do our jobs effectively with satisfaction and vigor.
• Practice assertiveness rather than aggression in the workplace
• Do your homework before presenting a case, e.g. salary hike
• Seek an unbiased advice to help you become more assertive
Source: Nicola Turner, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is Organizational Psychologist, HRI&C