Assertiveness is a word that expresses a positive predisposition to establish and maintain constructive relationships, win-win relationships, where everyone involved in a conversation has a benefit.
Assertiveness defends our right to express a different opinion. That does not mean that we are against the other person. We just do not share his/her thoughts and we want our voice to be heard and respected as well. Very often, we do not just want to convince anyone, just to express ourselves…
In order for the Assertiveness to be complete, of course we must also respect the other person, without showing aggressiveness in our communication, verbal or nonverbal. Managing our body language and our tone of voice will be a key factor to establish a good relationship with our interlocutor. Assertiveness consists in respecting us in a bidirectional way.
Am I Assertive?
We have been taught, since our childhood not to raise our voices, not to be aggressive, not to interrupt people when they speak … instead, almost subconsciously, we allow others to break these “rules” and we allow ourselves to be “intimidated” by others, perhaps because they have a higher hierarchy than us or because we simply feel inferior.
As I always say in my trainings, Assertiveness is a continuous challenge in our Communication. When we think differently, the mere fact of manifesting it gives us dignity, places us at the same level as the other person, as long as we express it with empathy, without hurting anyone’s feelings. When we want to influence the other person to change their opinion, then we give a new step in our relationship with this person: the game of Communication begins and we should apply all the techniques to convince them, and explain why we think in a different way.
Do We Penalize Assertiveness?
“Your personal power determines your assertiveness. Dare to expand your assertive area and raise your voice “- these words come from Adam Galinsky, professor of Negotiation in the School of Colombia.
This teacher encourages us to defend our interests and not adopt a “submissive” attitude that may harm our self-esteem and also our personal and professional interests. “Can I correct my boss?” -Galinsky asks his audience in his recent Ted talk in New York. This Professor tells us that our area of Assertiveness is variable, that we need to develop it, make it grow to gain greater power as people.
The society has unwritten rules that sometimes penalize those who dare to question them. Fortunately, more and more companies are open to dialogue and more and more managers and leaders listen to their people and invite them to express their ideas and defend opinions, which a priori, could be controversial.
Bi-directional respectful communication
Assertiveness involves showing respect for our interlocutor and showing respect for ourselves when we communicate. These are two requirements that we must demand to maintain healthy communication, from the emotional point of view.