Being assertive does not mean attacking or ignoring other's feelings. It means that you are willing to hold up for yourself fairly-without attacking others.” ― Albert Ellis
Would you rather want to confidently take your stand and express your feelings to the people around you?Or would you be aggressive and not express your feelings at all? Would you rather get your point across without upsetting others? Or would you keep your thoughts to yourself? While this doesn’t come easy and many people struggle with it, with an Assertive style of communication you can stand your ground for your own or other people’s rights in a very calm and positive way.
Whatis Assertive communication?
Assertive communication is a communication style used by individuals to express their needs openly and confidently in a positive manner. It is basically expressing what you want without fear, but at the same time, ensuring that you’re not hurting others. It is an important personal and interpersonal skill that helps people to maintain healthy relationships, resolve interpersonal conflict, and prevent one’s needs from being repressed.
Being assertive will help in expressing yourself in a clear, open, and reasonable way, without undermining your own or others’ rights in all your interactions with people, be it at home or work, with employers, peers, or clients.
Why use the Assertive style of Communication?
Some people respond in passive and/or aggressive ways, which are often the results of a lack of self-confidence and inappropriate ways of communication. While the aggressive ways hurt the feelings of people and fractures relations, the passive ways, on the other hand, leads to stress, negative feeling, and resentment.
With assertive communication, you will be able to communicate clearly without leaving any scope for misunderstanding. This will help you eliminate conflict and communication gaps easily. You can clearly express your feelings, while you do not negate the feelings of others. It enables you to take responsibility for your actions, take ownership. An assertive style of communication gives you the confidence and courage to convert your words into actions. It also makes you constructively confront and find a mutual solution in the places of conflict.
How to develop Assertive Communication?
- Use "I" Statements
An assertive leader is someone who has the courage to use "I" Statements. Using "I understand", "I need" or "I feel" helps you convey your opinion and get your point across firmly in an assertive way. It shows ownership, courage and identifies your behaviour. It contributes to the growth of your relationship with other people.
For example, " I feel that we’re far behind in this project as per our schedule. I would like to know what can be done to get it back on track?"
You have to acknowledge what your employees have to say. If people act angry or resentful toward you, try to avoid reacting to them in the same way. You can only control yourself and your behavior,therefore try your best to stay calm even if things get heated up. As long as you are being respectful and not violating anyone else's needs, then you have the right to say or do what you want.
Always try to understand the other person's thoughts and views of the situation. After considering their point of view, express what you expect from them. You have to validate other people's feelings because you’re working with people who have emotions.
- Pay Attention to Nonverbal Communication
In Nonverbal Communication you have to maintain eye contact with the opposite person as it helps you to stay focused. Also, it’s a way to show the person that you’re interested and care about what they are saying.
- Good listener
Being Assertive is not only about expressing yourself but also actively listening and understanding what the other person has to say. Expressing your needs and at the same time, listening to what the other person needs is important. By being a good listener you can maintain healthy communication that will benefit your relationships with others.
While an Assertive person is someone who always focuses on solving the problem, a passive and aggressive person would be blaming others. Being Assertive you have to focus on how to solve the problem by collaborating to build consensus in the organization so that everyone is on the same pitch and wants to work. An assertive leader always facilitates a good work environment.
All of these traits contribute to you being an Assertive leader and once you become assertive, there's no going back. People will love you for who you are. They will love communicating with you. You will create a safe space for people to come and speak with you.
Here are some tips to enhance your Communication Style:
Certain traits make assertive communication more effective. Here are a few essentialcharacteristics that will help you:
- Eye contact
Maintain eye contact with the other person as it demonstrates your interest and sincerity. It helpsyou to talk to the person directly with a clear vision.
- Facial expressions
Having a pleasant facial expression with a genuine smile can have a very positive effect on the opposite person.
- Body Posture
Maintain a confident upright body posture as it helps the expression of confidence and self-esteem. It will improve the significance of the message.
- Hand gestures
A positive body language increases the listener’s interest and adds emphasis to what you say. It leads you to draw the opposite person’s attention.
- Voice modulation
A modulated tone with a clear voice will automatically draw the attention of the opposite person. It helps to express your views clearly and sounds more convincing, acceptable and is not intimidating.
Using proper judgment to point out the timing helps to express the views impactfully and adequately.
Incorporating the right content for your discussion and putting that forward at the right time is quite crucial in an assertive form of communication.
Assertive communication can significantly contribute to a positive work environment, higher productivity, employee satisfaction and great relationships. An Assertive leader always appreciates the opposite person, shows gratitude, makes them feel special, valued and supported.