Are You Assertive?

In this day and age, a high percentage of people, especially women, are afraid to be assertive because society may view them as being pushy or overbearing. However, assertiveness is the complete opposite – being able to stand up for your self is a very powerful tool.

In my last blog, Can You Express Your Feelings? we examined emotional expression.
Now let’s discuss the second competency in the self-expression area, Assertiveness. Assertiveness is the ability to express your thoughts, feelings and beliefs clearly and in a non-offensive way. It is the balance between being passive and aggressive.

So let me ask you a question – Have you ever been in a situation where you could have been more assertive, but weren’t?

If you answered yes, don’t worry…you are not alone.

I have developed 4 simple steps to help those of you that struggle with being assertive.

1. Being Aware

Knowing your rights and feelings, along with others around you, is the most important step in being assertive. Once becoming aware, you can assess the situation and figure out how and what to say without coming off aggressive or offensive.

2. Be Honest

Have you ever heard the saying “ Honesty is the best policy”? If you believe in what you say, being assertive will come naturally. Keep in mind you do not want to come off as rude, so make sure you’re being honest, but respectful.

3. Be Clear

Keep it clear and simple. When expressing your opinion assertively, you need to state two things: 1) your opinion 2) and action plan.

Tip: Use this template for a clear, assertive response.

In my opinion I think_______, we should ______

You are are stating your opinion and offering an action plan to back it up.

4. Don’t Feel Guilty

Confidence is a virtue that not everyone has, it is the main reason why some people are assertive and others aren’t. Have the confidence in your beliefs and opinions and never feel sorry for the way you feel.

Next time you express your opinions keep these tips in mind, and you will be 4 steps closer to being more assertive.

If this post has you curious and you’d like to learn more, watch my video on leading with emotional intelligence (training program available in both face-to-face and online delivery formats): Leading with Emotional Intelligence.

Join me next time as I continue to break down the emotional intelligence area of Self-Expression, and explore the third competency in this area, Independence.

Learn more about emotional intelligence in my previous blogs: A Leader’s New Best Friend, What’s Your Score?, What Really Matters and Once You Know Better, You Do Better

Carolyn Stern

Carolyn Stern specializes in helping professional women get unstuck, maximize their potential and achieve more. She is a successful entrepreneur, self-development professional, author, university professor, corporate trainer and coach, as well as a Certified Emotional Intelligence Facilitator/Instructor.

See all posts by Carolyn

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