Assertiveness is a skill, not a personality trait. It helps people get what they need and want without being aggressive or passive-aggressive. It means communicating honestly about what you need and want. What is assertiveness? Assertiveness means standing up for yourself in a way that does not hurt or disrespect others. Assertiveness can help you get what you want and need while maintaining good relationships with others.
1. It’s Okay to Say “No”
This is the most crucial skill to have as a person who wants to be assertive. Feel comfortable saying no without guilt, resentment, or fear.
Everybody likes to be asked for help, but it’s okay to say no if you don’t have the time or energy to do something. When you cannot say no in daily situations, seek Acuity training and advice from assertiveness training experts.
We often refuse to say no despite feeling so, mainly because we lack the confidence to deny something. These experts can help you work on yourself and build the confidence to handle your everyday situations better.
Be clear about your boundaries and expectations for yourself. Don’t expect guilt or shame to motivate you, but try to be compassionate with yourself.
2. Don’t Make Excuses
Communicate when you have an issue with something. This will help you avoid the whole “Yes, but” syndrome many people fall into. If you don’t want to do something, if you don’t have time, or can’t afford it, say so.
Don’t make excuses if you can’t or don’t want to do something. You’re only hurting yourself and your relationships by making excuses.
3. Be Specific and Clear
When you are specific, your message will be clear. It will help you get the results you want. People respond better when they know what to do. When you are more specific, it is easier for them to know what you want them to do.
4. Don’t Apologize Unless You Did Something Wrong
It’s okay to say you’re sorry if you did something wrong. But if you didn’t do anything wrong and you apologize, you might make the person feel bad for asking or criticizing you. It’s OK to say, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or “I’m sorry you had to do that.” You can also say, “I stand by what I did.”
5. Own Your Words and Actions
Words have power, and actions have consequences. If you say or promise something, then do it. If you don’t want to do something, don’t promise to do it. If you regret something that you did, apologize and don’t do it again. If someone misunderstands you, explain what you meant.
6. Prepare Before You Speak
Before you speak, take a moment to collect your thoughts and feelings. This helps you prevent regrettable comments. It will also make it easier to stay focused on your goal. When you’re working on improving your communication skills, practicing in front of a mirror or with a friend can be helpful.
7. Stay Calm
Being calm will help you stay focused on what you need to say. It will also help the other person stay calm while listening to you and help them understand you better.
You might feel anger, fear, or anxiety when asserting yourself. It’s normal to have strong feelings when trying to express yourself. Taking a few deep breaths can help you stay calm so you don’t say something you might regret. It can also help you get your point across more clearly.
8. Listen Attentively
People rarely feel attacked or disrespected if they feel listened to and understood. Assertiveness training will teach you why and how you must listen to understand what the other person is saying.
When you actively listen, you demonstrate that you are interested in the other person’s thoughts and feelings and respect their ideas. This is one of the essential soft skills. It helps people feel heard, understood, and respected regardless of the conversation’s outcome.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes or Look Bad
Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody looks terrible from time to time. Don’t be afraid of looking bad if you need to ask for a raise at work. If you want to talk to a loved one about their behavior negatively affecting you, don’t be afraid of looking bad.
When you are afraid of looking bad, you are afraid of being who you are. You are afraid of standing up for yourself and what you believe in.
10. Don’t Make Assumptions
You may have a lot of assumptions about people and what they want, need, and are capable of. But you don’t know these things for sure. Assumptions may seem like facts, but they may not be true.
You may be making assumptions about other people that are not fair or accurate. Assumptions are like gossip. Gossip is when you share something that you think is true but don’t know for sure. Assumptions are things you think are true even though you don’t know for sure.
11. Be Open to New Things
Being open to new things is the opposite of being closed-minded. Being open to new things is willing to try new things and accept new ideas. When you are closed-minded, it means you are refusing to accept new ideas.
Assertiveness training experts mention that they often come across people having a problem with being open-minded and assertive at the same time. Being open-minded will enable you to learn, adapt, and see ideas through the other person’s eyes. Being assertive denotes standing up for your beliefs and communicating your perspective without being harsh or impolite.
Striking a balance between soft skills in your work and personal life can be achieved with patience, practice, and training.
12. Establish Your Boundaries
What are your expectations? What do you need to be happy? What is acceptable and what is not?
Establish your boundaries so that you can be assertive with others. Boundaries are what we expect and need. We tend to have varying limits with other individuals. Boundaries must not be overlooked or replaced by other aspects of the relationship.
Boundaries are mandatory to foster healthy relationships at home and work. They avoid the feeling of being taken advantage of.
Developing and maintaining personal boundaries is an integral aspect of self-confidence and self-development training programs. These trainings emphasize the importance of understanding one’s boundaries and effectively communicating them in various social interactions. This skill is valuable for fostering respectful relationships in personal or professional contexts.
For instance, The Power Moves, a renowned leadership coaching organization, offers comprehensive courses that empower individuals to strengthen their personal boundaries, equipping them with the tools and knowledge to navigate various aspects of their personal and professional lives more effectively.
13. Be Willing to Compromise
Compromise does not mean giving up. Compromise is a respectful way of finding common ground between people with different needs and desires. Compromise does not mean you will or will not get everything you want. It means you will get what is fair and what both people can live with.
14. Don’t Interrupt or Show Impatience
Being patient and letting the other person finish speaking without interrupting are valuable assertive skills. You may be very excited or upset about what you have to say, but if you interrupt or show impatience, the other person will not feel heard. They will not feel that you are being respectful of them. Interrupting or showing impatience also has the effect of making you look rude.
15. Use “I” Statements to Assert Your Needs
Assertiveness training mentions that being assertive with an “I” statement shows assertiveness, not aggression.
“I cannot take on more work right now, but maybe we can reconsider in a while.”
“I respect your opinion on the subject, but let’s agree to disagree.”
You are taking responsibility for your feelings and needs rather than blaming the other person for your feelings. You can use “I” statements in all sorts of situations. You can use them to:
- Ask for what you want,
- Share what you want,
- Disagree with someone without attacking them, or
- Say “No.”
16. Assertiveness Does Not Mean Aggression
You may disagree with someone, but you don’t have to be rude. You can disagree in a respectful, assertive way that does not attack the other person. You can disagree without being disagreeable.
State your opinion clearly and confidently without being impolite or rude. Do not be pushy or aggressive. State your opinion once, and then let it go.
It is essential to be assertive for several reasons. It helps you to stand up for yourself and your needs, it helps you to be more confident, and set boundaries. Assertiveness means that you are standing up for yourself in a respectful way.
Building assertiveness can take us a long way during times of confusion or when making difficult decisions at work. This is why practicing and training to develop this soft skill becomes necessary.
So, the next time you want to ask your boss for a raise or tell an employee that they need to be sincere at their job, make informed decisions; Start believing in them and yourself.