What's Stopping You from Being Assertive?

The ability to be assertive that is, to get your point of view across diplomatically but without conceding ground and without provoking offence or conflict is one of the hallmarks of a strong business leader or manager. It's also one of the rarer qualities. Many of us fail to be assertive, even when it is justifiable, because of one, simple emotion. Fear. All too often we maintain a dignified silence in the presence of others when, in reality, it would serve us better to be more assertive. Common reasons for this include fear of upsetting another person, fear of making ourselves look stupid or fear that we don?t have sufficient authority to assert our opinions.

Leaders and managers who feel that they could be more assertive would undoubtedly benefit from attending Influencing and Assertiveness. This comprehensive course presented by leadership training experts Maguire Training helps delegates to become more assertive and better able to influence others by improving questioning and listening techniques, developing self-confidence, using appropriate body language and by utilising personal power and energy.

Something that is largely unrecognised by people who would class themselves as unassertive due to fear is that assertive people also experience the same fears, yet are able to overcome them. The truth is that no-one feels truly comfortable with being assertive, no matter how calm and confident they may appear on the surface. However, there are simple ways by which anyone can recognise and improve their own levels of assertiveness. Here, Maguire Training shares a couple of useful methods to help you evaluate what's stopping you from being assertive and overcome your fears.

    1. Weigh up the realistic consequences of being assertive in a situation

      Self-honesty is crucial for this to work. It's easy to kid yourself that by not being assertive you're keeping the peace and making life easier. Stop for a moment to consider whether or not that's actually true. Is the other person's viewpoint really more valid than yours? Are the potential feelings of guilt, regret or inadequacy you may feel as a result of not being assertive really the best possible outcome? And are you really avoiding further problems down the line by not speaking out now?


    1. Recognise the buttons that trigger your own assertiveness

      Sometimes you'll be in a situation where someone crosses the line or pushes a button which makes you react assertively. It could be as simple as asking someone not to smoke in front of you if you're a non-smoker, or when you see someone being belittled or taken advantage of by someone else. Learn from the circumstances in which you overcome your fears and act assertively without thinking about it and consider whether this confidence can be applied in other situations.


  1. Accept that no one is assertive in every situation

    The man who is assertive in front of his manager when requesting a pay rise may lack the confidence to query an over-charged grocery bill with the manager of their supermarket. People react differently in different situations depending upon how comfortable, confident and in control they feel. The key is to be assertive, without being destructive, when the outcome is of significant importance to you.

Assertiveness is a valuable tool in effective communication and can help to resolve conflict and overcome problems. Maguire Training can help people at every level of business to improve their confidence, assertiveness and influencing skills, enabling them to achieve the results they want in any given situation. For the convenience of delegates, invaluable courses such as Assertive versus Aggressive Behaviour and Influencing Strategies are available as online training, easily accessed at any time and location via Maguire Training?s versatile mobile and E-learning system.

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