Assertiveness is an element that defends us from situations that tend to control and manipulate us through the communication strategy and allows us to act safely, in order to defend our rights and assume responsibilities.

Life presents us with difficult situations, but the important thing is to know that we are capable of facing them efficiently. Some have to do with our interpersonal relationships in society and at work.

Next, in this article we will share everything you need to know about assertiveness at work.

What is assertiveness at work?

Assertiveness is a psychological term that defines a form of behavior, which favors cordiality in our social relationships, without meaning passivity. It allows us to express our desires in a kind, frank, open, direct and appropriate way, managing to say what we want without attacking others.

Throughassertive behavior, we can maintain our opinions and beliefs in front of others with correctness and also accepting that of others. It also creates a better relaxation in interpersonal relationships.

It has its origin in the word “assert”, as defined by theRoyal Spanish Academy (RAE), is “to declare or affirm positively, safely, with simplicity and force“. The word assertiveness is derived from the Latinasserere, assertumwhich also means to affirm.

The first to use the word “assertion” isJoseph Wolpein his book “psychotherapy by reciprocal inhibition”, in 1958.

On the other hand, assertiveness is an indispensable social skill for job performance. She scores as one of the most important skills in the profile of positions and positions within an organization.

In this context, assertiveness is not a personality trait acquired from birth that cannot be modified. On the contrary, throughout our existence we learn to be more or less assertive, depending on the conditions in which we receive our learning, added to the experiences we are having.

So, since it is a learned behavior we can modify and improve it.

In another definition, Olga Castanyerdefine it as“the ability to assert one’s own rights without being manipulated and without manipulating others”

In the same way, being assertive is also being consistent in what is said (verbal communication) with what is manifested in non-verbal communication, in gestures. For this reason it is important to be consistent and not say a few words that have nothing to do with our gestures.

As a communication strategy and style, assertiveness falls somewhere between passivity and aggressiveness. In this sense,Walter Riso in his book “practical guide to not be manipulated and be assertive” , states the following:

“Being assertive means being able to exercise and/or defend personal rights: say “no”, express disagreements, give an opposite opinion and/or express negative feelings without allowing yourself to be manipulated, as a submissive person would do, and without violating the rights from others, as an aggressive person would.

Benefits of assertiveness at work

Assertiveness at work as an innate or modified ability, means a list of benefits for the organization and for the workers that are mentioned below:

Proper flow of information

The main objective of assertiveness at work is to achieve fluid, adequate and consistent communication with the environment of individuals who are related to the organization, respecting their interests and rights.

Achieving assertiveness in communication is closely related to the level of development of an extremely important emotional competence that is empathy .

Adequate resolution of labor problems

Sometimes it is difficult to maintain good relationships with others, especially when we see our essential values underestimated.

Conflicts are and will always exist in human relationships, for this it is important to develop skills to resolve them, which is a condition of success in our interpersonal relationships.

So, assertiveness emerges as a strategy in situations where it is key to maintain the relationship with the other.

Greater integration of the work team

Undoubtedly, a work team with assertive skills contributes to integration, favoring the achievement of individual, collective and organizational goals and objectives.

Increased productivity

As there is a greater integration of the work team, undoubtedly everyone moves under the same work philosophy.

Therefore, assertiveness at work ensures that members are oriented under the same quality parameters, and disagreements are resolved efficiently.

Reduced work stress and frustration

The lack of self-confidence and the difficulty in expressing to a boss or a subordinate what we think or what we expect of them are very recurring experiences in the workplace.

Being non-assertive at work is a frequent cause of frustration in organizations and causes serious communication problems.

Sometimes we face situations in which it is necessary to express our position or our ideas, and frequently we lack communication tact using expressions that undermine the morality and professionalism of other people that nullify our intention, generating fear, anxiety , confusion.

That is why being assertively skilled helps reduce stress and frustration in the communication process between coworkers.

Improved time management

Unquestionably, working time becomes more efficient, due to the fact that discussions in the work environment are limited and agreements are created to increase productivity.

Strengthening the relationship between bosses and employees

The ability to be assertive in organizations and in vertical work relationships contributes exponentially to the bond of workers as a work team and not in a simplistic employer-worker relationship.

How to improve assertiveness at work?

Here is a list of the 10 best ways to improve assertiveness at work:

1. Establish the objectives that you want to achieve

Oral and written communication is essential to direct our job aspirations. Establish and above all adequately communicate our individual and organizational aspirations.

Let’s remember that the key to assertiveness at work is Effective Communication .

2. Know your rights

Knowing our position, knowing where we stand and above all that we have exact knowledge of what assists us, is important when presenting our ideas.

The foundation of our legitimate rights is vital to clearly establish our position in any situation, and act aggressively, but this aggressiveness is not related to violence, it is related to the strength of our approach based on the faculties that assist us.

3. Adequately express concerns and disagreements

It is the right of the human being to express our concerns or what bothers us. The key is knowing how to manifest them.

It is not the same to say “You are incompetent, always making the same mistakes” as it is to say “I noticed that in the last meetings you did not bring your complete paperwork and it caused us delays in the work schedule. Have you noticed that?”

4. Communicate what you want clearly

This is one of the situations you must understand to start working on assertiveness. No co-worker was hired to read minds, so no one can read your mind.

In this context, you should express what you think and feel so that others know about your needs and desires. Your coworkers don’t know you need them and your boss doesn’t know what you want to progress in the organization.

Don’t assume they should know, intuit, or think like you. Don’t waste your time getting frustrated and learn the assertive way to communicate your wishes and opinions in a balanced way.

5. Choose the most opportune moment

As well as choosing the right way to convey our ideas and opinions, equally important and perhaps of great relevance is to choose the right moment, the right one.

If we want to properly express a disagreement to our superior, it is best not to do so after you have left an intense and exhausting meeting or you are looking for a solution to a problem of the company.

6. Respect the rights of others

Assertiveness is based on knowing and recognizing what our rights and opinions are, and expressing ourselves without attacking the ideas and opinions of our colleagues.

This is what happens in negotiations within the organization, sometimes your opinions will prevail and others will be in the background because others are considered better.

The important thing is always to respect the opinions of the rest, even if you have sustainable arguments against their opinions. The strategy is to show them tactfully in order to refute them, but without creating work conflicts.

7. Avoid downplaying what is being requested

Acting with empathy implies the ability to put yourself in another’s place, seeing the situation in question from the other person’s point of view, being able to understand the importance of what another person exposes in a certain situation.

8. Avoid stressing and getting anxious

Stress and anxiety tend us to make mistakes, including poor communication, a vague and brief approach or in more extreme cases manifest violent behavior, wanting to impose our position even if we are wrong.

9. Adapt behavior to the environment and context

One of the fundamental aspects to be more assertive at work is the adequacy of the language and what you want to transmit, to the context and environment in which it occurs.

We know that there are situations in which we can express our approaches, but we must adopt the language to the context that surrounds us at that moment.

For example, it will not have the same impact to make an approach at a meal as at an executive meeting.

10. Communicate subjectively

Exposing our opinions from our own perspective, from our own point of view, in a positive way, is a strategy with a view to improving our assertiveness at work. Of course, this without falling into falsehood or hypocrisy.

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