Develop your assertiveness so that you can balance your needs and wants with those of others.
Has there ever been a time when you've felt taken advantage of at work? Or struggled to ask for what you wanted? We've all been there, and it doesn't feel good. This is why assertiveness is so important.
You're being assertive when you express your own needs calmly and confidently, without forcing them on others. Assertiveness is sometimes confused with aggression, but the two are very different.
Assertiveness is based on balance. It means considering your rights and needs, as well as those of other people. When you act assertively, you show confidence, empathy and compassion.
Aggression, on the other hand, is based on winning. It often involves using intimidation or bullying tactics. You're being aggressive if you demand what you want without considering anyone else's needs.
The good news is that you can learn assertiveness, just like any other skill. Start by realizing that your rights, thoughts, feelings, and needs are valid and important. Then practice expressing yourself. Use "I" statements, like "I want," "I need," or "I feel." At the same time, let the other person know you understand how he or she might feel about the situation too.
Here's an example. Imagine your co-worker has asked you to stay late to help her with a project she's fallen behind with. But you promised your daughter that you wouldn't miss her soccer match. An aggressive way to handle this would be to say, "You're always behind on your work! Why should I stay and help if you can't organize yourself?!" Even if this is true, you'll likely ruin your working relationship if you act like this.
A better response would be, "I understand it was a busy week, and I'm sorry that you're behind on your work, but I promised my daughter I'd watch her soccer game. I could come in early on Monday to help, instead." This approach is assertive – it addresses your own wants and needs, as well as those of your colleague.
To learn more techniques for developing your assertiveness, read the article that accompanies this video.