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The Importance of Assertiveness

Communicating in a clear and considerate way

If I asked you to picture an assertive colleague, how positive an image would this be?

Many people avoid asserting themselves, for fear of being seen as aggressive, confrontational or controlling by their colleagues. But despite what people think, being assertive is not the same as being aggressive.

Assertiveness is considered the mid-point between being passive and being aggressive and refers to the tendency to clearly express your thoughts, feelings and opinions in a direct but non-offensive way. It involves defending your beliefs and is one of the fifteen areas of emotional intelligence.

Here are just 3 reasons why assertiveness is so important in the workplace:

1. It may sound simple but if you want something, you need to ask for it. Being assertive includes clearly communicating what you want which increases the chances that you will be given the resources that you need to succeed. It also means you are less likely to miss out on opportunities at work because you make it clear when you want to be considered for a particular role or task.

2. By expressing your opinion, however unpopular it may be, you encourage others to evaluate and justify their own ideas and consider, potentially better, alternatives to the majority view. This also enhances communication and reduces misunderstandings within the team because your colleagues know where they stand and don’t have to second guess your thoughts on a situation or topic.

3. Assertiveness is an invaluable way to maintain boundaries at work. If you are assertive, you are likely to be comfortable saying no when you need to, and this prevents you from being taken advantage of by your colleagues. For example, people may continue to add to your workload unless you make it clear that you do not have the time to help them. Ultimately, you will be respected for standing your ground and it will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed.

Being assertive can lead to improved communication, boundaries and chances of success. So, practice your firm and considerate communication style to start seeing the benefits of assertiveness in your workplace.

Learn more about developing your emotional intelligence today with EQ Extra.

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