What is assertiveness?

Assertiveness is a skill that is closely linked to emotional intelligence, which is why it is considered a soft skill.

To be assertive is to communicate effectively, to say what we want to convey in a firm manner, while respecting and empathizing with others and ourselves. It is the ability to “get angry well”, that is, the way to react to conflicts and discussions and to communicate effectively with others.

We can find different types of communication, which are a reflection of the way we face a conflict and manage our emotions.

Therefore, we will find these types of non-assertive communication:

  • Passive style

In this situation, the subject feels “small” in front of the situation and does not express his feelings or opinion for fear of criticism or looking bad, which leads us to avoid the situation and not defend our own rights in front of others

For example, my friend Maria goes on a trip and asks me for my camera, even though I don’t think it’s a great idea for fear that it will be broken or lost, I agree to leave it with her because I don’t want to create a conflict situation even though I’m not happy with the situation.

  • Aggressive Style

The aggressive style, on the contrary, is related to a feeling of rage. We lose perspective and are only able to see what is bothering us without taking into account the feelings of the other person.

“In the Passive Style we put the other person first, and in this we put ourselves first.”

In this type of communication we feel threatened and see the discussion as a competition in which we have to win. If we act aggressively we can hurt the other person’s feelings.

By communicating aggressively we speak without filter, we do not provide solutions to the dialogue, we only attack.

For example, in the same situation above, in the aggressive style the response to Maria’s request for the camera would be to get angry and tell her that we are not a camera shop. We would overreact to the situation, not being aware that Maria did not want to offend us and telling her things that could hurt her.

  • Passive-aggressive style

This style, as its name indicates is a mixture of the two previous ones, usually avoids direct conflict and shows aggressiveness in a more subtle or indirect way, resorting to sarcasm, ironic comments…

It is also possible to boycott covertly, as if it were unintentional, for example, by arriving too late at a meeting you do not wish to attend, or by doing something wrong on purpose.

This person plays a role, at the moment when other individuals recriminate their behaviour they pretend to be surprised.

This is how we arrive at the desired style of communication; Assertive Style.

In this type of communication, people defend their own rights while respecting others, are empathetic and defend their interests. The aim of the “discussion” is to reach an agreement that benefits both parties, not to seek individual benefit.

In this style, self-confidence and respect for others are shown, they express their opinions in a firm and justified way, always respecting the opposite opinion.

For example, if Maria asks me for my camera for her holidays and I don’t think it’s a good idea to lend it to her, I would explain to her that I don’t usually lend it to her because it is expensive and fragile, giving her a solution such as another person who can lend it to her or an affordable camera model.

Communication between team members is fundamental, as we have seen through the examples, there are different ways of expressing themselves that have negative consequences.

By training your employees in assertiveness, you will make sure they are able to express themselves correctly and avoid misunderstandings and arguments among them. Furthermore, good communication is a way to improve the performance of workers, as they feel comfortable and understood.

Do you want to know more? Ask us your questions and our team will contact you.