*What is assertiveness?
*What is the difference
between being assertive, aggressive and avoiding a situation?
Assertiveness is expressing your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in a direct, honest, and appropriate
way. It means showing respect both for yourself and for others. When you're being assertive, you consciously work
toward a "win-win" solution to problems. A win-win solution means trying to make sure that both parties end up with
at least some of their needs met.
When you're assertive, you effectively listen and negotiate so that others choose
to cooperate willingly.
Assertiveness is not aggressive...
you're being aggressive, you express your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in a pushy, forcing way that is inappropriate
and violates others' rights. It can be either active ("You're stupid!" or "Do as I say!" or physical
violence are examples) or passive (using guilt or helplessness to pressure you). Either way, aggressiveness communicates
an impression of disrespect.
When you're aggressive you put your wants, needs, and rights above everyone
else's. You attempt to get your way by not allowing others a choice. Where assertiveness tried to find a win-win
solution, aggressiveness strives for a win-lose solution: I'll be the winner and you'll be the loser.
Assertiveness is not avoidance.
behavior is passive and indirect. It permits others to violate your rights and shows a lack of respect for your needs. It
communicates a message of inferiority. It creates a lose-win situation because when you're nonassertive, you
give the other person the message that your needs aren't important and places you in a victim perspective.
To be assertive...
USE "I" MESSAGES
message is a good way to claim your feelings while letting people know what you're thinking. It is made up of three parts.
- Behavior -- exactly what the other person has done or is doing
-- what is happening because of their behavior
- Feelings -- what effect their behavior
has on your feelings
By using this kind of message, you are giving another person complete information,
leaving no room for second guessing or doubt, but owning your feelings.
Example: "You're late to the meeting
(behavior). I feel angry (owning your feeling) because now I have to repeat information the rest of the group has
already heard (effect)."
This is much more productive and assertive than simply ignoring the problem and
then stewing about it, or expressing your anger or frustration in a putdown and disrespectful way.
If you like, you
can also add something like..."Please try to be on time out of respect for us and also so you don't miss out on important
information. Let's continue." (Now you can go on with the presentation or meeting, having dealt with the issue.)