It seems like we’ve been conditioned from birth to be aggressive, competitive and domineering in every interaction with another human being or even in the office place. In business situations this is considered a good thing! However, if you aren’t careful you can lose your temper and have some real consequences that can put a damper on your professional and personal life for a long time to come. So, what are the rules of assertive behavior in the workplace?
Being assertive isn’t about compromising the other individuals rights as a person; it’s about respecting others right to be as they are. And that means taking the necessary steps when you encounter an issue that requires a strong response. Being passive just doesn’t mix well with assertiveness because to do so is to give in to the other person’s demands. Assertive behavior also allows others to believe that you really do hear them and understand them, while passive behavior only allows you to look somewhat confused because you’re not really sure how to respond.
It’s important to be self-confident and realise that to grow as people you need to push the boundaries of what’s acceptable and what’s not. If you don’t set those boundaries then you may very well find that you will get stuck in a never ending cycle of reacting and not responding. To avoid this you need to use assertiveness and set boundaries but make sure that you don’t over-extend yourself and actually become aggressive. If you do that then people will view you as weak and ineffective at being assertive and self-confident. That may sound counterproductive but actually it just makes you appear less effective in the workplace.
Taking the time to learn about assertiveness skills can help you achieve a much better understanding of how you communicate and how others perceive your behaviour. Once you’ve got this information you can then decide on a plan of action. Remember, if you want to be successful at using assertiveness skills in the workplace then you need to be willing to commit to taking action. You can’t make any progress unless you are prepared to take it forward.
As a part of boosting your assertiveness skills you also need to spend more time with people who you would otherwise have never been able to speak to. That way you’ll start to understand how aggression can creep into relationships without you realising it. In addition you’ll learn to stop yourself worrying too much about how people might react. Remember, there’s no such thing as an ‘act’ of aggression.
Although there are many benefits of assertiveness, some people worry that it could lead to the loss of control and therefore remove the boundaries between you and others. This is a common fear because in many cases those who adopt a more aggressive approach end up over-asserting themselves and thus losing control of their relationships. However, all you need to know is that there are only two things you should fear – not taking control of your own feelings and not making others feel guilty for acting in ways that you don’t like.