Assertiveness - Why It Is Perceived To Be Difficult

Dr. Purushothaman
September 30, 2013

Assertiveness is state of confidence wherein one is bold, direct and primarily confident with others. Many times assertiveness gets confused with aggression. This leads to mishaps like snubbing other people on the wrong site, thereby creating a negative impact. For this reason, it is important to understand how to be assertive especially at the work place. Being assertive can showcase a more proactive and confident individual.

Assertiveness is essential in the workplace where colleagues and managers can make unreasonable requests or demands on your time - leading to stress, depression and anxiety. This in turn leads to aggression, aloofness and attrition. Very often, it can even ruin good career prospects.

Why Assertiveness is perceived to be difficult

People tend to be hesitant to assert themselves for the following reasons:

1.They feel anxious that it would attract dislike from others

This misconception is probably what prevents most people from being assertive. We all strive to be accepted and liked by others. We look up to people who can make their presence felt. Many people have a sphere of influence, wherein their opinions are accounted and accepted.

The only way this can happen is through their assertiveness. It helps them get their ideas across, and with a little bit of convincing, everyone sees good judgement in their view. People tend to respect those have the ability to be assertive, not aggressive.

2.They feel that it would be considered as selfish

Assertiveness is all about making your presence and ideas be felt and heard. This is why a lot of people feel that it would be considered if they were to do so.
It is important to realise that by putting our needs on an equal level with the needs of others does not account to being selfish. Selfishness arises if we don't consider the needs of others and put our wants first. Hence it is important to let our needs be known as it is important for our well being.

They fear angering or upsetting the other person/s
The momentary spark that is creating when you are assertive will normally be replaced with agreement from the other side. By being assertive, you help the other person see your point of view, and understand your perception of the issue.

Here are some tips on how to be assertive in the work place:

* Try to relax, rather than becoming angry

* Look at the other person, stand (or sit) upright and keep a calm tone of voice

* Keep what you want to say clear and to the point

* Avoid long explanations

* There's no need to apologise if you feel you are in the right

* Be polite but firm

The key to effective assertiveness is using the right words, pitch of voice and body language. You may find yourself becoming nervous - remember that it is a natural bodily reaction. Take a deep breath before you start speaking. Think of what you would like to say and put it forward without aggression. We have found that Assertiveness Skills Training generally helps individuals to gain a better perspective. It helps them in their conflict resolution skills and improves work place relationships.

"The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behavior affect the rights and well being of others."


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