How often do you take on tasks or accept invitations that you haven't got time for (or don't want) because you don't want to upset someone by saying No?
How often do you hold back from saying what you really want to say because you don't want to appear rude or aggressive?
How much time and energy do you spend worrying about how to get out of things you shouldn't have agreed to in the first place, or drumming up the courage to say you're not happy?
We often confuse being assertive with being pushy or arrogant, when in fact to be assertive means 'to behave in a confident way in which you are quick to express your opinions and feelings'.
Some dictionaries define assertiveness as being aggressive, which is why I like to call it: 'Win/Win Conversations'
For me, assertiveness is the ability to say what you think or feel, or to say what you need, without upsetting the other person. It means saying what you want to say with confidence, with respect for yourself and respect for the other person.
It's about having Win/Win Conversations.
So if this means changing your behaviour – and a habit of a lifetime – is it worth it?
I think there are many benefits. When you adopt a win/win approach you will:
- Handle conflict more easily
- Feel more in control
- Be treated with respect
- Make better use of your time
- Be trusted by others
- Tackle problems head on
- Be perceived as professional
- Reduce your levels of anxiety and stress.
- Feel more confident
- Have higher self esteem
Once you understand what's stopping you from being assertive, then you can start to move forward and adopt a more healthy and resourceful behaviour. Although assertiveness (as opposed to being aggressive or passive) is often seen as a personality trait, it is in fact a skill or technique that any person can learn or use.