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What Is Assertiveness And Why Is It Important?

assertiveness online coaching

What is assertiveness and why is this skill so important to have in your life and in your workplace?

If you ever find yourself giving in to the wants and needs of others in your personal life or at your workplace or agreeing to activities that feel not very important to you, then maybe you have difficulty being assertive.

In this article you learn what it means to be assertive and what the importance of making it a priority in your life and at your workplace is. 

In a related blog article you will learn what it means to be assertive and how to develop this skill if you don’t have it yet. You receive practical tips to incorporate assertiveness effectively into your daily routine which will improve your communication skills and boost self-confidence.

Be smart & build good connections! How to be assertive, to drive solutions, to listen with an open mind, and to influence for outcomes.

What Is Assertiveness

Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive. 

In the field of psychology and psychotherapy, it is a learnable skill and mode of communication. Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines assertiveness as:

…a form of behavior characterized by a confident declaration or affirmation of a statement without need of proof; this affirms the person’s rights or point of view without either aggressively threatening the rights of another (assuming a position of dominance) or submissively permitting another to ignore or deny one’s rights or point of view.

In other words, assertiveness is the ability to clearly and directly communicate your own wants and needs. It is the capacity to firmly express one’s feelings, views, beliefs, and choices respectfully, even when they differ or are opposed to what someone else wants.

An assertive person is comfortable and confident in their stance, even when it means saying “no” and disappointing a friend or colleague. Some people seem to be naturally assertive. But if you’re not assertive, you can learn to be.

Everyone, including you, can build on a natural communication style. You can use one’s unique strengths to personal advantage, all while eliminating self-sabotaging behaviors, confidently handling complaints and criticism, and persuading others to see their side of any story. All these skills come from one – the assertiveness. So let’s see what your natural communication style is you can build on.  

4 Common Communication Styles

So when you think about the way that you communicate are you only out for yourself, striving to make sure your own wants and needs are met by any means necessary? Or do you give in to others by putting their desires and priorities above your own? Basically there are four common communication styles: 

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  • Aggressive style: People with an aggressive style focus only on their own needs and will do whatever it takes to get what they want. They can resort to bullying tactics, intimidation, guilting, manipulation, or demanding measures.
  • Passive style: People with a passive style are those who make everyone else a priority. They are unable to refuse a favor and never say no, even if it brings great inconvenience to themself. They put their own desires and interests on pause to answer the call of anyone who seeks their help.
  • Passive-aggressive style: People with a passive-aggressive style very often may say yes when they want to say no. They may be sarcastic or complain about others behind their backs. Rather than confront an issue directly, they may show their anger and feelings through their actions or negative attitude. They may have developed a passive-aggressive style because they’re uncomfortable being direct about their needs and feelings.
  • Assertive style: People who are assertive know what they want and stay true to their priorities and self-interests while, at the same time, being mindful and respectful of those around them. They express their desires without imposing on others. they can decline an invitation without feeling guilty and can say “no” without stirring up conflict.

So when you think about the way that you communicate are you only out for yourself, striving to make sure your own wants and needs are met by any means necessary? Or do you give in to others by putting their desires and priorities above your own? Think about various situations in the event that your communication style changes depending on the social or workplace situation, context, or people involved, then simply do your best to give the actual and honest response that you would give in the situation imagined.

Why is Assertiveness important

Assertive communication makes sense because assertiveness is based on mutual respect. It’s an effective and diplomatic communication style. Being assertive shows that you respect yourself because you’re willing to stand up for your interests, views, believes and express your thoughts, feelings and choices. You acknowledge their importance and consciously decide to make these things a priority. It also demonstrates that you’re aware of others’ rights and willing to work on resolving conflicts.

Of course, it’s not just what you say — your message — but also how you say it that’s important. Assertive communication is direct and respectful. Being assertive gives you the best chance of successfully delivering your message. If you communicate in a way that’s too passive or too aggressive, your message may get lost because people are too busy reacting to your delivery.

Assertive people value their time and energy. They also have higher levels of confidence and self-worth. Being assertive can also help alleviate confusion, decrease anxiety, and reduce conflict while interacting with others because your desires and interests will have been expressed clearly and directly.

Let Us Support You In Becoming Assertive

Remember, learning to be assertive takes time and practice. If you’ve spent years silencing yourself, becoming more assertive probably won’t happen overnight. Or if anger leads you to be too aggressive, you may need to learn some anger management techniques. If certain issues such as anger, stress, anxiety or fear are getting in your way, consider addressing it. The payoff will be worth it. If you want to learn more how to develop your assertiveness skills if you don’t have them yet please click here.

Our Self Coaching Programs and Rapid Results Programs can support and enable you to become more assertive and to help you with certain mental health issues that hold you back. By becoming more assertive, you can begin to express your true feelings and needs more easily. You may even find that you get more of what you want as a result.

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