What is Assertiveness ?

It is essential for individuals to be assertive and speak their mind without being rude and aggressive. Do not say a yes to others if you do not agree to what they are saying irrespective of their designation and level in the hierarchy. Remember, as an individual, you have all the rights to express your views and opinions as long as you are confident and know whatever you are speaking is relevant and makes sense. Assertiveness refers to a positive trait of an individual where he/she knows what needs to be spoken or discussed without hurting or insulting the other person.

Why do you think your superiors do not believe you when you ask for a day’s leave even for a genuine reason? The answer is very simple. It is your lack of assertiveness which creates doubts in your boss’s mind and eventually he/she becomes reluctant to grant you leave. Trust me, if you really have a problem at home or not well, there is no reason to be nervous. Be confident unless and until you are lying and have done something seriously wrong.

Have you ever been a part of business meetings/discussions or delivered a presentation at workplace? If yes, then certainly you would understand the meaning and importance of assertiveness. When your company’s Managing Director or Chairman shares a presentation with the entire team highlighting company’s strategies, vision and what all should be done in the coming years, don’t you all listen to him/her with rapt attention? The reason is his confidence and assertiveness which make you believe in whatever he is saying at the particular forum.

When you go for an interview, do you take someone from your current organization who supports whatever you are saying? I know you cannot even dream of doing the same. An individual applying for the position of marketing executive in a potential organization, would share all his previous successful deals, client handling experiences, achievements, targets, vendor handling and so on to prove that he is better than the other candidate waiting outside the interview room and must be hired for the particular position. In such a case, assertiveness plays an important role. It is the individual’s confidence and ability to express himself/herself in the most accurate manner without cooking fake stories and insulting anyone that help him grab the job. Assertiveness is when you reply to the interviewer without looking here and there but directly into his/her eyes. Fiddling with things around, playing with tie or hair will help you neither in your personal nor professional lives as nobody will take you seriously. When we need something from our parents, may be an expensive gift or a cell phone, don’t we try our level best to sound confident and be assertive so that they understand our genuine need for the particular thing?

There is a thin line of difference between being assertive and being rude. You do not have to shout or fight with the other person just to prove your point. Assertiveness means making yourself and your points clear in front of the other person which is certainly different from being aggressive and abusing the other person. Explaining your views and opinions to people around is your right but arguing is considered rude and unprofessional. Developing eye contact with the person you interact is one effective way to prove your assertiveness. The pitch and tone of your voice also play an important role in assertiveness. Speaking too slow and whispering into someone’s ear show your nervousness and lack of assertiveness. Be loud and clear. Carefully choose relevant words and avoid using slangs at work.


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