Communication skills are extremely crucial in the workplace. It also includes assertiveness skills. Assertiveness is a type of behaviour that is used to express one’s needs in a healthy, social manner. Assertive communication is the ability to express positive and negative ideas and feelings in an open, honest and direct way and is extremely useful in all kinds of organizations. Many women want to develop the assertive communication skills needed to express themselves, deliver a message effectively, and be heard without second-guessing themselves. Finding the right balance between confidence and an impactful expression of your position is key. 

Types of Behaviour

There are different types of assertive communication as it is considered as a balance between passive and aggressive behaviour. People use one of the four types of communication at work. Different types of assertiveness can come in handy based on the situation. Passive, assertive, aggressive and passive-aggressive are all communication styles, though assertive is generally considered a good option at work as it communicates your needs without disrespecting others. 

Assertiveness At The Workplace

Career success depends on one’s assertiveness skills as the right communication can help make deals. For example, in a scenario where you are in a meeting with your boss to ask for a raise, and they have asked you to wait for another six months. There are different ways of responding depending on your communication styles.

1. Passive Communication

Passive communication implies compliance with other people’s wishes that undermines the person’s confidence. In this particular example, one would hide their disappointment and agree with the boss, but later complain about it to colleagues and friends.

2. Assertive Communication

You maintain composure and calmly have a discussion with the boss regarding the exact timeline and any tangible goals you can achieve to improve your chances. Assertive aggressive communication style is when a person is standing up for themselves but does so by threatening or attacking others. This will not signal maturity and could result in bad feedback.

3. Aggressive Communication

In the last approach, one reacts angrily and may threaten the boss that they will quit and start looking for new opportunities elsewhere. By being assertive and aggressive towards someone else, their rights and self-esteem are undermined. This is unproductive and can often make matters worse.

Benefits Of Being Assertive At Work

Assertive communication at work done in the right way has a lot of advantages not just for you, but even your team and company. A few of the benefits are:

1. Better Managerial Skills

Assertive Behaviour includes treating people with fairness and respect, and in return treated similarly by others. This depicts leadership skills and is generally well-liked by everyone, allowing them to work with others.

2. Less Anxiety And Stress

Assertive communication can make a woman feel empowered to share concerns and handle interpersonal problems without feeling worried. This creates a positive work environment and thus directly reduces the stress and anxiety of dealing with a toxic workplace.

3. Increased Self-Esteem And Confidence

Self Assertiveness makes you internalize the value you offer at work and makes you appreciate yourself more. When one feels better about themselves, it automatically increases their self-esteem and confidence.

4. Higher Team Performance And Collaboration

Assertiveness opens positive lines of communication within the team where everyone feels comfortable sharing constructive feedback that will impact team performance. Lesser time is spent dealing with resentment and miscommunication leading to better collaboration.

5. Helps Achieves Goals

Assertive communication meaning behaving as an equal to others, maintaining control, and also being open. It becomes easy to recognize and achieve goals, as one is able to better communicate their priorities, needs, and requirements to others thereby reducing time spent in being aggressive and more time spent in figuring out win-win solutions and problem-solving.

Drawbacks Of Being Assertive

There are a few risks of displaying assertiveness at work. A few people might not prefer or approve of this kind of communication style and can alienate them. Or they may not understand it and thus mistake you or your viewpoints. Sometimes, even while being assertive might not lead to the desired results.

Also, it is important to understand cultural and organizational contexts, where assertive behaviour can be considered rude.

Strategies For Assertiveness At Work

How to be more assertive at work as a woman can be challenging but is extremely important. It is common for women to take a passive role to maintain order at work, but this leads to many issues. Here are a few strategies for learning assertiveness.

1. Communicate With Clarity

Assertive communication requires you to explain your needs in a confident and clear manner. Do not give excuses for your needs, rather declare them. This does not require you to be aggressive, but firm. Remember to stick to your needs and not waiver. Don’t wait for your boss or colleagues to notice your needs, instead proactively attract attention to them.

2. Use Your Body Language

Non-verbal gestures and body language can be used to demonstrate self-assertiveness. Maintaining eye contact, raising your volume, and taking up space are simple methods of making your presence known to others. Reach out to others and talk more with people around you. Show you are empathetic without being passive. Smiling, having an open body communication style increases trust and makes you venture out of the comfort zone.

3. Use ‘I’ Statements

While the way you speak and the tonality is critical, it’s equally paramount to look at the content. Assertiveness skills require using ‘I’ statements, for example – “I work better when..”, “I would like to show you some of our products” and similar other statements. This conveys basic assertions and gets your point across firmly. Likewise, learning to say no is equally part of assertive behaviour.

4. Value Yourself

When learning how to be more assertive at work, one must first learn to value themselves and their rights. This stems from having the self-confidence that your work has value and that you are an integral part of the organization. Your rights, thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires are just as important as everyone else’s, but not more important than anyone else’s. 

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like every other skill, assertiveness requires practice. You can practice being assertive by role-playing the scenario with a friend before a big meeting or interview or even create a script for yourself with all the main talking points noted down. This can help you be prepared for different responses and respond accordingly to get a positive response. 

Key Takeaways

Here are a few key tips that will guide you in understanding assertive communication.

  • Assertive communication meaning finding the right balance between passive and aggressive behaviour
  • Assertiveness skills do not develop overnight rather one must practice them on a regular basis. Start by being assertive in small ways and slowly develop the self-confidence to speak your mind
  • Listening to the views of others and responding appropriately, whether in agreement with those views or not is also assertiveness
  • You may have to modify your behaviour according to the situation whether it’s passive, assertive, aggressive
  • You may have to employ body language and non-verbal gestures to demonstrate assertiveness

Learning how to be assertive will help you gain the respect of your coworkers and at the same time, increase your self-confidence at work. One must use assertive behaviour to help others instead of making it a one-way communication. It also means having patience and trying to create solutions that create a win-win scenario for all parties involved. One should never let gender norms stop one from being assertive.

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