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Assertiveness at work – an introduction

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1 Assertiveness at work – an introduction

2 Learning outcomes Define assertiveness
Recognise aggressive,passive and assertive behaviour Identify workplace situations where assertive behaviour is appropriate

3 Plan What is assertiveness? Exercises Assertiveness in the workplace

4 What is assertive behaviour?
Stating your needs,wants, opinions or beliefs in direct , honest and appropriate ways Assertive behaviour needs to be compared to its alternatives: aggression and passive behaviour. In a sense assertiveness occupies the middle ground between these two extremes.

5 What is passive behaviour?
Failing to state your needs, wants, opinions, feelings or beliefs in direct honest and appropriate ways. Stating them in a way that others can easily disregard them

6 What is aggressive behaviour?
Ignoring or dismissing the needs, wants, opinions, feelings or beliefs of others. Expressing your own needs or wants in inappropriate ways Having looked at these three behaviour types it is important to realise that none of us can be assertive all the time. The aim is to become more assertive. A truly assertive person can recognise the “right” not to be assertive if that is their choice in a given situation.

7 Six guidelines for being assertive
Decide what you want Say it clearly and specifically Support what you say by how you say it Don’t be manipulated or sidetracked Listen Aim for a working compromise or “win win” situation It would clearly be impossible to plan every response in advance but where you know you have an important meeting with someone it is worth thinking in advance what you want from that encounter. Be clear, direct and specific on what you want, feel or think. Use I statements so as to take ownership of what is said. Don’t apologise or explain excessively. Don’t be manipulated or side-tracked. If necessary repeat in a calm but firm way your original request. In some text books you will find this technique called “broken record.” It’s used a lot by politicians when facing critical interviews. Being assertive is not only about getting your own way. It’s also important to listen to what the other person is saying. Where there is genuine disagreement the aim if possible should be to find a working compromise that is at least acceptable to both sides.

8 Assertiveness at work Reprimanding or criticising a member of staff
Delegating an unpleasant task Handling work overload from your boss Performing well in meetings During appraisals Resolving conflicts Handling sales representatives from other firms Graduate jobs involve many situations in which assertiveness is an asset. Many companies include assertion training as an element in their graduate training programmes. The role play which follows is built around some of these situations.

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