Assertiveness is a communication style and strategy that is neither aggressive or passive. It relates to your confidence and self-assuredness in your communication with others, without being aggressive or threatening, or taking on a dominant stance. It also relates to your ability to affirm your rights or point of view, thus avoiding being submissive, or permitting others to ignore, or dismiss you, or your ideas/perspectives.
Learning to be assertive enables you to manage other people’s negativity, and provides education around ways of behaving when someone else is being overbearing towards you.
Assertive communication strives to appeal to a shared interest of all concerned, focusing on the issues at hand and not individual personalities.
Characteristics of Assertiveness
strive for win/win situations, considering their needs as well as the needs of the other party.
are willing to compromise, rather than always wanting to win or get their own way.
know how to control their anger and manage their emotions. (This does not relate to repressing anger or emotions, but refers to an ability to control these reactions and communicate in a reasonable and respectful manner with another person).
are able to freely express their thoughts, desires and feelings.
have the ability to initiate and maintain respectful and comfortable relationships with other people.
Communication is more than what we say, it also requires active listening. We all have a tendency to forget that communication is a two-way process, which sees many of us fall into the trap of ‘broadcasting’ the message we wish to convey, and then failing miserably to listen or consider the other person's response.
When we fail to listen to others in the conversation, they do not feel heard or valued and communication can break down. Or perhaps, we can have a blindspot, and not even consider that the other person may see the situation completely differently, and again, communication can break down.
When we approach communication or a difficult topic with curiosity, and a desire to understand from the other person's perspective, effective communication can ensure the desirable win/win situation.