Assertiveness

Definition: Assertiveness the ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings in a way that creates a favorable social climate for achieving goals. To put it simply, assertiveness is the art of getting what you want without saying anything about it. The effectiveness of assertiveness is based on two primary factors: body language and non-verbal cues. Body language gives away your energy level and social status, while non-verbal cues let people know what’s bothering you or make you unhappy.

Effective assertiveness involves the ability to use positive and authoritative verbalizations to influence other people’s behavior. If you want to be treated well, assertiveness is vital in your social life. However, it is important not to mistake assertiveness for weakness or timidity. It is possible to be both very assertive and very quiet. Being assertive is not the same as being arrogant.

Assertiveness is key when it comes to communication because it pushes boundaries and opens the way for others to move forward without being questioned. Just because someone isn’t speaking doesn’t mean they aren’t trying. Studies show that most workers are motivated by fear—that is, by the prospect of facing resistance or blame if they fulfill their commitments. Therefore, when you find yourself in a position of power or authority, use your position to help yourself and others by being assertive. For example, if your customer wants a cheaper product or someone in your team isn’t eager to take on new projects, it might be time to consider letting them go. 

Assertiveness is also key when considering your company’s compensation structure. For example, many small companies that entrepreneurs start tend to offer basic employee benefits like health insurance at substantially lower rates than larger companies. In other words, offering lower basic insurance costs might be worth it if offering better health insurance seems too expensive.

Being assertive requires you to put yourself in the position of others – either as a speaker or a listener – and evaluate how you would handle the situation if someone were to confront you about your assumptions. Assertiveness is not the same as passivity. People can be extremely assertive and still be very peaceful and friendly. Those with high assertiveness are often perceived as tough, but there is a difference between strong and dominant personality types.

An assertive person is confident that he or she knows what’s best. They can communicate their thoughts and feelings in a way that makes others feel heard and understood. While not everyone who is assertive will be successful, many who start out this way become more influential people. For example, most people are not aware of the influence that facial expressions and body language can have on others. When you train your brain to recognize these actions as assertive, it can positively affect how others perceive you.

An assertive person knows how to communicate effectively and understands that silence is often a tactic. An assertive person feels free to speak their mind without fear that their opinions will be misunderstood, misconstrued, or taken out of context; they can work directly with others without waiting for approval or asking for share or deference. Of course, being assertive has its disadvantages; it’s easy to get tripped up by social mores and stifling social norms. But the advantages are great–better teamwork, more confidence in your abilities, independence in pursuing your goals.

Assertiveness isn’t always easy. But it pays big advantages when you correctly identify your area of strength and dedicate yourself to developing it. By ignoring or crossing over boundaries, you run the real risk of damaging relationships with co-workers, clients, and even family members. However, sometimes it’s necessary to speak up for what’s best, even when it hurts. Assertiveness isn’t always easy. But it pays big advantages when you correctly identify your area of strength and dedicate yourself to developing it. By ignoring or crossing over boundaries, you run the real risk of damaging relationships with co-workers, clients, and even family members. However, sometimes it’s necessary to speak up for what’s best, even when it hurts.