What are assertiveness skills?

Assertiveness is a behavioral trait that includes the ability to stand up for oneself, ask for what one wants in a manner appropriate to the situation, and be able to say no.

Assertiveness comes in handy if you are dealing with just about any type of situation. If you go into a meeting and feel that your opinion is stronger than others’, but want to come off as professional, assertive communication skills will help you get your point across while including all parties.

  • When people listen to you, they want to hear what you have to say.
  • It makes the other person more comfortable to have a conversation with you as he feels that his opinion is also being given equal importance. This makes him more forthcoming and open to share his thoughts with you.
  • Employers trying to fill positions in customer service or other high-volume sales can be won over by a candidate’s polished communication skills and outgoing personality.

Someone with assertiveness skills will be able to demonstrate the following traits:

  • Firm, yet pleasant voice.
  • Clear speech and sincerity.
  • Appropriate behavior at any given situation.
  • Cooperative and progressive nature.

Characteristics of Assertive People.

Those who are assertive tend to have the following characteristics −

  • They are aware of their rights and feel free to exercise them. They express their feelings, thoughts and opinions confidently. They know how to manage anger and still be rational about it. They have the ability to build amicable relationships with other people. They have a strong sense of self and worth.
  • Benefits of Assertiveness
  • Assertive people are not aggressive nor passive, they know their rights and feel free to exercise them which helps them find ways of expressing themselves so as not to offend anyone else.
  • They do not let fear or guilt stop them from achieving what they want. This makes them more successful than passive people in the long run.
  • As they are assertive, their self-esteem is high which means that they do not take offense easily and can speak up to defend themselves.
  • They are able to express their feelings openly without worrying about how others might react.
  • Assertive people are not too pushy or aggressive in negotiations. They listen to others and keep an open mind.

Four Ways of Behavior.

The Passive Way:

The Passive Way is when the person does not take responsibility for his or her actions and doesn’t show any interest in taking part in events. They follow what other people say, without thinking about their own opinion. It can be seen as being shy with an introverted personality. The passive way is also known to have a negative impact on one’s self-confidence.

The Aggressive Way:

A person who is aggressive will say whatever they want and do anything to get what they want, regardless of the consequences or other people involved in it all. They are selfish and don’t care about anyone else but themselves. These types of behaviors can lead them to do more bad things and end up in trouble.

The Passive Aggressive Way:

A passive aggressive person will say whatever they want, but instead of being mean about it, they find a way to be passively aggressive. They still sometimes lie or act aggressively but only when no one is around to see them so that people can ‘t get mad at them.

The Assertive Way:

Assertiveness is key for ambitious people looking to advance in their careers. Those who are assertive and know how to control their emotions can express themselves with confidence without offending other people’s feelings. They also have the ability to maintain a neutral reaction when dealing with a frustrating person or worse-off situation.

Practicing the “assertive way” may be a great strategy for improving your professional standing. Assertiveness demands empathy and clear language in order to avoid bruising egos, but it also means recognizing and protecting one’s own rights.

Being Assertive vs. Being Aggressive

Possessing the soft skills of being assertive demonstrates that you have a voice and know how to use it in order to solve issues. Assertive people are skilled at handling criticism, opposing views, and constructive feedback from others so they can take decisive actions without sacrificing another person’s interests.

Being aggressive means you’re a bully. Whether it is for your own empowerment or simply to hurt others, being aggressive usually involves humiliating and degrading those around you so that they comply with what the aggressor wants them to do. However, this often backfires because people will eventually get tired of getting pushed away by obnoxious behavior all the time and may even retaliate in some way themselves.

The assertive person takes the team along with him on his way forward, whereas an aggressive person would exhaust or even step over others to reach their goal. The result is that while a competitive and goal-oriented individual might celebrate success alone, it’s always better when everyone participates in your achievements as well!


12 Steps For Self-Assertion

Learn to Make the Transition from Submissiveness to Assertive Behavior Women Who Don’t Ask For What They Want

1. Express Your Thoughts and Feelings in a Positive Manner:

The first step is to learn how to express yourself, your needs, wants and desires in an assertive manner. This requires looking at how you speak to others, in particular the tone of voice and words used when disagreeing with someone.

2. Identify Your Rights:

Assertiveness is all about respecting your rights while also respecting the rights of other people around you. You have a right to be assertive because it is okay for you to express your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and opinions.

3. Do Not Give Up if You are Rejected at First:

Assertiveness isn’t something that comes naturally to most of us because it requires that we stand up for ourselves without compromising our own beliefs or getting into disputes with others.

The only way you will become more assertive is to practice. This means that you will have some awkward moments as you get used to standing up for yourself in the right way.

4. Stay Calm:

We are all confronted at times with situations where we feel we should express our thoughts but react instead by either remaining silent or giving in to another person’s point of view. It’s not always easy to express yourself the way you want to and there will be times when your words come out in an angry tone. This is fine if it’s a one-off situation but don’t let this become a pattern whereby you need to explode with anger before you can say what you really mean.

5. Be Sure You are Right:

If you are going to be assertive, then do so for the right reasons and don’t express your views just to counter someone else’s opinions or bully them into submission. Make sure that you feel comfortable with what you intend saying before you put it out there.

6. Listen to What Others Have to Say:

Listening is a very important aspect of assertiveness because it lets the other person know that you have heard what they said and are now figuring out a way in which you can express your own thoughts, feelings, or concerns.

7. Don’t Make Your Argument Personal:

It is easy to get defensive against another person’s attack on your own opinion or way of speaking. This often triggers us getting angry and giving out our opinions in a rant of anger. The key here is to be aware that it is not all about you and what you feel is right, but rather paying attention to the other person’s concerns and expressing yourself in a way that doesn’t make them feel bad or belittled.

8. Express Yourself in terms of ‘I’ and not ‘You’:

Try to use phrases like, “I don’t agree with what you have said because I find it offensive” instead of “You are wrong.” This approach will help you stay focused on your personal feelings as opposed to making others feel bad about their opinions or way of speaking.

9. Don’t Turn the Argument Into a Debate:

If you express an opinion but it is met with opposition, then think carefully whether or not you really want to make an argument out of this. This is important because it determines what the other person thinks of you and how they may feel about engaging with you in the future.

10. Keep It Short:

Some of us like to really get into an argument with others by explaining why we believe something, or even launching psychology attacks against someone else’s opinions. The fact that you are willing to express your views is good enough and if you go on too long, you may accidentally make the other person feel bad.

11. Know When to Stop:

Try not to relapse into old habits and keep arguing back when it’s clear that the other person has had enough of listening to you. In some cases, it may be better for you to walk away and come back later once both of you have had time to digest what has been said.

12. Follow Up:

When someone expresses themselves in a way that you feel is wrong, it’s sometimes useful to ask them questions so that they can think about their own opinion on the matter.

Facets of Assertiveness

Assertiveness has many facets, some of which are: it is a way of behaving. It is a way of thinking. It also resolves conflict in addition to being behavior and thought oriented.

  1. Assertive Behavior is Direct, Honest and Open: Assertive behavior involves open verbal expression of thoughts and feelings in a direct manner. It includes saying “no” to people in a straightforward manner, not being manipulated by others or allowing others to manipulate you.

Assertiveness is also acting honestly, making no secret of your thoughts and feelings, giving others accurate information and saying exactly how you feel about them. Assertiveness requires that you be open with yourself and others.

  1. You must take all the responsibility for your own behavior: When you are assertive with other people, they may or may not stop behaving in ways which upset you. What is important is that you stop blaming them and don’t blame yourself.

Assertiveness means that when a problem occurs, it’s your responsibility to resolve the matter, not the other person’s. It doesn’t mean that you have to change yourself in order to accommodate others or their behavior. It does mean addressing problems directly with people who upset you so that you can deal with them in a way that is most effective for you.

  1. Assertive Behavior Involves Having Concrete Solutions: The goal of assertive behavior is to communicate your needs and feelings and deal with the other person so that both of you get what you want or need from the interaction. Active listening, problem identification, understanding and problem solving are some of the skills that are most important in assertive behavior.

Assertiveness is a way of being, not a skill set to be acquired. Skills can be learned which help when you’re learning how to be assertive, but mostly you need to gain clarity about what it means for you and develop strategies which will work best for you. The most important thing is to be clear about what your needs and feelings are, and to express them in a direct way so that those who upset or frustrate you will know exactly where they stand with regard to their behavior toward you.

  1. Assertive Behavior Means That You Deal With Your Feelings: Being assertive does not mean that you deny your feelings. It does mean that you allow yourself to feel all the emotions actually present in a situation without being judgmental or critical of yourself for having those feelings.

Assertiveness means being able to say, “I’m mad!” instead of feeling guilty because you’re supposed to be above such behavior and only nice people are allowed to be mad. It means being able to say, “I’m sad,” instead of trying to cover up the hurt feelings with a false cheerfulness that causes others discomfort and leads them to avoid contact with you.

Being assertive about your feelings does not mean you have to act on those feelings in an undisciplined way. It does mean that you acknowledge your feelings in a compassionate and non- judgmental manner.

  1. Assertive Behavior Involves Personal Responsibility: Being assertive means being responsible for what you say, how you say it and how you act or behave. This is because the only person who can change your behavior is you! If someone else has a problem with your behavior, you are not responsible for their feelings about it.

It’s important to be honest and truthful in relationships because dishonesty usually leads to more problems than the one you had to begin with. People who are assertive deal openly and honestly, even when they know it will hurt someone else’s feelings or create some conflict.

  1. Assertive Behavior Means Being Open To Others: Being assertive means being open to the possibility of positive change in yourself and others, even though you may not always get what you want or need from others. You always have choices about how to react to another person’s behavior so that your dignity and self-respect are preserved.