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Building Your Assertiveness

    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.

    What About Aggressiveness? Are They the Same?

    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.

    How Assertive Are You?

    Take this online test to decide how assertive you are.

    The Assertiveness Inventory

    Do you need to improve your assertiveness? Consider some of the strategies
    listed below.

    Strategies to Become More Assertive

    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.

    Authenticity
    — 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.

    Self -Awareness
    — to realize that you are feeling offended, threatened or have a strong wish
    that is not being honored.

    Self-Confidence
    — to have the faith in yourself that you can defend yourself — your pride
    and your honor.
    Vulnerability
    — to risk how others might react to your assertions.

    Here are some other suggestions: