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Assertiveness Skills

Assertiveness skills are extremely important in today's times. Read the following story to know why and how to go about acquiring them.
Rujuta Borkar Aug 13, 2020
I just can't say no to anyone.

People take me for granted.

I end up taking on things I never really wanted to

Sounds familiar? Maybe it's you or someone you know. Someone who just does not know how to say no. And while being helpful is always a good thing, it is also important to learn to be assertive and say it like it is.
Sometimes though, people end up on the other extreme and are really, really aggressive. Which is not a good quality either. What one should be is the right mix of both. 'Cause in today's competitive world, being smart is just as crucial as being good.
Having assertiveness skills gives you the power to be able to stand up for your own self, it gives you the power to make things happen and not be taken for granted; it gives you the ability to voice your opinions about certain things with confidence, and to make what you're saying count. And that is why acquiring these skills should be stressed on.
What are these skills and how is one to go about acquiring them is what we this following piece concentrates on.
The Basis of these Skills

Before getting into the methods of inculcating the quality of assertiveness in a person, here is a list that highlights some of the assertive skills:
  • The setting of boundaries.
  • How to handle overbearing and aggressive elements and people.
  • Standing up for your own rights by using correct methods of communication.
  • Managing conflict effectively.
  • Providing clear messages that are not open to interpretation.
  • Being firm and unrelenting to get one's work done.
  • Voicing your opinions without any fear.
  • Learning how to become confident so that one is able to handle a stressful situation.
This is a broad outline of some skills of assertiveness. It is important to note that people who are assertive have lesser conflicts and stress in their life, and are generally better able to handle difficult situations. That is why it becomes important to know and learn how to be assertive.
Skills for Children

It becomes important to teach children to be assertive at an early age so that they learn how to handle situations and not be pushed around. Being assertive should be taught just as one teaches kids the other values in life like being truthful and generous.
How does one go about administering these skills? Here are some important factors that will help inculcate assertive communication skills in children.
What is Assertive Behavior
The first thing that needs to be done is to teach the children what assertive behavior entails. For that, one needs to draw out the difference between passive, aggressive, and assertive behavior and get them to understand with examples what each of them means.
Only once they know that being assertive is the best method in any given situation, they will be more willing to learn.
The Basic Rights
Once they know the difference between being assertive, passive, and aggressive, it needs to be told what the basic rights of assertiveness entail.
These include the right to say no, the ability to voice your opinion, to not be pushed over by anyone, to not be taken for granted, to be firm and unrelenting when the situation is pressurizing and stressful, to not break under pressure, and the like.
Role Playing
Now that you've given them the theory of what acquiring these skills involves, it is just as important to teach them the methods of how to be more assertive by bringing it into action. One of the best ways to do it is by using role play.
Role play will let you put forth a situation so that they can get a practical situation at hand. It will teach you how they handle a situation that involves bullying or peer pressure and thereby allow you to teach them the vocabulary (saying no in firm tones),...
...tones, non verbal body language (eye contact, hands on the side, feet firmly on the ground) and actions involved in being assertive.
Skills for Managers and Supervisors

Supervisors and managers are at a position where they have to work with several employees and make sure that the work is being carried out well enough. For this, it becomes extremely important to learn assertiveness in the workplace so that they can hold on to the position of influence.
A manager who is a pushover cannot influence others and neither is an aggressive manager approachable. What does one have to do to acquire these skills? Here are some of the pointers.
  • Understand the difference between assertive, passive, and aggressive behavior clearly.
  • Understand the importance of saying 'no' and taking a strong stand.
  • Learn how to build self-confidence so that you can take a firm stand.
  • Do not smile when you're being firm because that gives a mixed message.
  • When you want the work done, don't use a tone like 'Would you', 'Would it be possible' etc. That just puts the power in the other person's hands.
  • Do not let people/subordinates walk all over you. Hold on to a firm body language and give less feedback. That means no nodding in affirmation, no smiling, maintaining direct eye contact, and the like. Understanding body language and what it conveys is very important and gets the message across very clearly.
Assertiveness skills are something that everyone should possess, and these need to be inculcated in a person right from the very start. That is because they have a direct effect on the way in which people behave and are treated. Many factors like confidence and positive thinking are closely related to possessing this skill.
And now that we have seen some of the ways in which these skills can be developed as well as the importance of them, we need to consciously inculcate them in our behavior. Only when you do that will you notice the difference in the way in which you behave and people behave around you. And trust me, it'll all be positive.