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Introduction to assertiveness

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1 Introduction to assertiveness
Professional Development Introduction to assertiveness Prepared by Suzanne Morton 1

2 Today’s session - content
Professional Development Today’s session - content Difficult situations – our choices Identifying assertive, aggressive and submissive behaviour Types of assertion for different scenarios Action planning 2

3 Why do we need assertion?
Poor / inappropriate communication Pressure of work Personality clash Conflicting interests Conflicting values Unrealistic expectations Misunderstandings / mistakes NO!

4 What problems can unresolved conflict cause?
Anger / arguments Poor productivity Poor relationships Resentment Guilt Stress Illness / insomnia etc…………….

5 ...which was fine when we lived in caves!
The natural response to conflict or ‘danger’ is to react (flight or fight).... ...which was fine when we lived in caves!

6 Instead of this we should choose the ‘best’ response or attitude
Our choices: Give yourself time / space to think Reframe the situation – i.e. try to see it differently Try different behaviour (assertion?)

7 The choice you make is critical to the outcome
Professional Development The choice you make is critical to the outcome The attitudes that we adopt in any situation partly determine how the situation will unfold. Zohar & Marshall (1993) 7

8 Spectrum of behaviours
Professional Development Spectrum of behaviours 8

9 Group Exercise For the behaviour type your group has been asked to look at: Write a definition Discuss examples of words and body language associated with this behaviour type

10 Aggressive behaviour Standing up for your rights in a way violates the rights of others Ignoring or dismissing the needs, wants, opinions, feelings or beliefs of others Expressing your own needs, wants and opinions in inappropriate ways

11 Aggressive words Shut up Stupid Don’t you ever listen What a nerve
Because I said so Get on with it You’d better Come on I told you so

12 Submissive behaviour Failing to stand up for your rights or doing so in a way that others can easily disregard them Expressing your needs, wants, opinions, feelings or beliefs in apologetic or self effacing ways Failing to express honestly your own needs, wants beliefs and opinions

13 Submissive words Sorry It’s only me Would you mind
I could come back later Well it’s a bit awkward, but er….. I wonder Excuse me I guess Sorry to bother you

14 Assertive behaviour Standing up for your own rights in such a way that you do not violate another person’s rights Expressing your needs, wants, opinions, feelings or beliefs in direct honest and appropriate ways

15 Assertive words I would like I think Let’s consider the options
I’d like to hear your view What do you think about....? I can see that How can we resolve this?

16 Also Being clear about what you feel, what you need and how it can be achieved Being able to communicate calmly without attacking Saying “yes” when you want to, and saying “no” when you mean “no” Deciding on, and sticking to, clear boundaries Being happy to defend your position Being confident about handling conflict if it occurs Understanding how to negotiate if people want different outcomes Being able to listen to others Being able to give and receive positive and negative feedback

17 Assertive Techniques Basic assertion Responsive assertion
Empathetic assertion Fogging Instant replay Discrepancy assertion Negative feelings Consequence assertion

18 Handling difficult situations (1) Putting your point of view or suggestion across
Use basic assertion You make a straightforward statement which makes clear your needs, wants, beliefs opinions or feelings or stands up for your rights by. e.g. “I need to leave by 12 noon today.” Keep it simple!

19 (2) Getting someone to open up
Use responsive assertion You are aiming to find out where the other person stands, or what their needs, wants opinions and feelings are e.g. “What would you prefer to do this evening?” or “What problems does the new system create for you?”

20 (3) Softening the blow / increasing the chances of being heard
Use empathetic assertion A statement that contains some empathy followed by a statement of your needs / wants. e.g.”I can see you’re busy at the moment John but I’d just like to ask a quick question”

21 (4) Taking the heat out / slowing things down
Use fogging A way of slowing the other person down without agreeing or disagreeing with them. e.g. “That’s a useful interpretation” or “That is certainly one way of looking at it”

22 (5) Making sure you are heard / dealing with being ‘cornered’
Use the instant replay technique A way of getting your message through without nagging or whining. The message is repeated or paraphrased until it can no longer be dismissed or ignored. e.g. “I can’t get the amendments done by 2 o’clock”…………. “I can’t do the amendments by 2 o’clock but I could do it by 4 o’clock”…… “As I’ve already said I can’t do the amendments by 2 o’clock”…..

23 (6) Dealing with people who don’t do what they promise
Use discrepancy assertion A statement that shows the other person has ‘moved the goalposts’. e.g. “Mike, when we spoke last month, you said you would let me have your feedback more quickly, I’m still keen for that to happen”

24 (7) Dealing with insensitive people
Use negative feelings assertion (‘I’ statements) A statement which shows another person the undesirable effect their behaviour is having on you. e.g. “I feel that I’m not being taken seriously / being heard” “I feel very concerned about the impact this change will have on quality of the end result It is really important to avoid generalisations and ‘YOU’ statements e.g. “You never take me seriously” “You’re taking no account of the impact this will have on the quality of the end result”

25 (8) Finally as a last resort ......!
Use consequence assertion A statement that informs the other person of the consequences if the situation is not resolved. e.g. “If I can’t get the equipment I need, I’ll have no option but to delay the project by 2 weeks / escalate this to the Head of School. I’d rather we didn’t get to that stage.”

26 Weigh it up! What will I gain by being assertive?
What will I lose by being assertive?

27 Different Perspectives (1)
Reframing Different Perspectives (1) 2 people can look at the same situation or ‘picture’ and see entirely different things

28 Different Perspectives (2)

29 Changing our attitude If my underlying assumption is:
I am right, you are wrong I am well-intentioned You are misinformed You are acting on a selfish basis I need to persuade you to do what I know is right …..then conflict is likely to result

30 However - if I ‘re-frame’ the situation……...
What I see is just one perspective I may be missing something You may see something I’ve missed You have good intentions (we can pretend you do even if it’s hard to spot!) Then conflict is less likely to arise or likely to be resolved more quickly

31 Other re-framing strategies
If someone is being really difficult Try to see the situation through their eyes..... (e.g. Are they under pressure from someone else?) Imagine something unimaginably awful has happened to the person recently (it may not be true but it can help!)

32 For people who you find slightly scary!
Imagine them doing something very ‘normal’ like shopping Imagine them as an irritating fly or a child that wants an ice-cream – they can’t really hurt you

33 Your action plan Choose a situation you want to be more assertive in
Be clear what your goal is What would you normally do? What could you do differently? Weigh up pros and cons of being assertive Don’t give up at the first hurdle Look for win/win compromise solutions

34 In summary Make the right choice to:
Professional Development In summary Make the right choice to: Maximise the chance of you achieving the outcome you want Minimise negative / destructive conflict Maintain your self respect and your respect for others 34

35 Introduction to assertiveness
Professional Development Introduction to assertiveness Prepared by Suzanne Morton 35

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