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  • Irina Ketkin - Learning & Development

What is assertiveness? (Learning Adventures Series)

Hello, welcome to this episode of Learning Adventures. Today we will look at what is assertiveness.

Imagine the following scenario – your co-worker comes over to your desk and asks you to look through a huuuuge pile of documents by the end of the day. You have 3 options:

Number 1 – look at all the other piles surrounding your desk and in contempt say “Sure, I’ll look at them” while thinking to yourself “How am I going to finish all this on time? I will have to skip lunch AND dinner today”.

Number 2 – throw the pile in his face, followed by “Are you crazy?! Don’t you see all the work I am surrounded by?! Go find someone else to do your job!” and go about your business.

Number 3 – tell him “I have tons of work at the moment and I am not sure I will be able to finish all this on time. Perhaps you could help me with some of this?”

While there are certain advantages to all three options, chances are the first two won’t get you far. In the third scenario you exhibited assertive behaviour.

So, what is assertiveness? Assertiveness is mainly a communication technique which allows us to build appropriate relationships by considering our rights and respecting those of other people.

In contrast, passive or submissive behaviour is where you would neglect your rights to please someone else. And aggressive behaviour, is where you would defend your rights and completely neglect those of other people.

But wait! What do we mean by rights? Well, these are the rights to

  • express your feelings,

  • make a request,

  • to fail,

  • to be listened to,

  • to be you among many others.

And vice versa, other people have similar rights. So, assertiveness is really about respecting these right – in you and those around you.

See you next time in the Learning Adventures series!

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