Assertiveness means being firm to stand up for your own rights and that of others in a calm, direct and positive way without being overly aggressive.

This skill helps us communicate or vent our feelings and displeasures in the most effective way while maintaining harmony. It is treated as a topic in some communication and social skills training courses.

Assertiveness does not mean or guarantee that you will win at all times. While demonstrating assertiveness, the rights and authority of others are taken into consideration too. A person with great assertive skills is somebody who can balance his own wants as well as the wants and rights of opposing parties.

Importance of assertiveness

Assertiveness comes along with tremendous benefits. In the course of your career, there will be times when managers, government officials, the media etc. may deal treacherously with you. In such moments, assertiveness is more than just a necessary skill. It is one of the best ways of addressing wrong treatments without causing turmoil within your work place.

Other benefits of assertiveness include:

  • Increased self-confidence. There is a direct relationship between assertiveness and self-confidence. Exercising assertive skills boosts your confidence levels naturally.
  • Stress reduction. Assertiveness helps you vent your feelings, get your voice heard, and your problem sorted out while maintaining harmony. This eliminates unvented feelings and inner grief which result in stress and frustrations.
  • Prevents or reduces strife. You don’t want to have a bad reputation do you? Great assertive skills eliminate or reduce the probability of being a trouble maker within your organization.

How to improve on assertiveness

The ability to effectively communicate one’s displeasure in the most appropriate way is one skill that eludes many. These tips can help make you a part of the few lucky ones.

  • Be specific about your problem: Assertiveness is exercised through communication. You should be sure of what your displeasures are and address them appropriately. Avoid beating about the bush or talking about trivial matters. Talk about the most important or critical matters first.
  • Attack the issue and not people: Remember that an assertive person is not an author of confusion. Do not attack the personality of people or suggest that they are biased or unfair towards you. Rather, explain how an unfortunate decision or allegation etc. tends to undermine your rights or privileges. Persuade them to believe that you think they made an unfortunate mistake rather than a deliberate attempt to undermine you.
  • Be confident: Especially when dealing with people who have made deliberate efforts to cheat you because they perceive you to be ignorant, you should express great courage and confidence.  Your boldness in spelling out your grievances makes people see the seriousness in you. It propels them to take that necessary course of action or corrective measures.
  • Know your rights and responsibilities: How can you exhibit assertiveness when you don’t even know what your rights, your limits and privileges are? Once you have in-depth knowledge about your rights, privileges and limits etc., you can speak with much articulacy, confidence, and relevant facts to support your claims.
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