What is Assertiveness?
In the context of management, assertiveness is respectfully and tactfully representing
yourself — your opinions and recommendations — fully to others. Here are some
definitions to consider:
Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without
being aggressive. In the field of psychology and psychotherapy, it is a learnable
skill and mode of communication.
Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines assertiveness as:
A form of behavior characterized by a confident declaration or affirmation
of a statement without need of proof; this affirms the person’s rights or
point of view without either aggressively threatening the rights of another
(assuming a position of dominance) or submissively permitting another to ignore
or deny one’s rights or point of view.
Many experts would argue that you can’t effectively lead others if you can’t
effectively lead yourself. Assertiveness is a major aspect of self-leadership.
Assertiveness and aggressiveness are sometimes confusing to think about because
they can seem to be the same. However, they are different — actually quite
different. Here is a very concise and useful description:
Assertive people state their opinions, while still being respectful of others.
Aggressive people attack or ignore others’ opinions in favor of their own.
Thus, you can be assertive (respectfully asserting your rights) without intending
to attack or ignore someone.
Take this online test to decide how assertive you are.
Do you need to improve your assertiveness? Consider some of the strategies
It takes a certain amount of courage to assert yourself — to be seen, to risk
that your opinion may be wrong and that others might respond with strong disagreement
or even aggression. Here are some other traits that are useful in building on
your skills in assertiveness.
— to respectfully be honest and forthright about yourself, in the moment.
Emotional Intelligence — to know what you are feeling and to sense how others might
react to your assertions.
Motivating and Inspiring Yourself — to know what will give you the courage to be assertive.
— to realize that you are feeling offended, threatened or have a strong wish
that is not being honored.
Here are some other suggestions: