When I was a child, I was always taught that saying ‘NO’ is not good. Even if you are not in a situation to accommodate something or even if you know the outcome to be negative, you cannot say ‘No’ directly. Sometimes, the other person also knows that ‘No’ is the appropriate sign, yet declining their request is considered offensive.
Being assertive is one such attribute that plays an important role in one’s corporate success. Assertiveness helps you keep your point and at the same time make sure convey your messages, even negative messages very constructively.
What is Assertiveness and How it is interpreted?
While assertiveness is the most recommended communication style in Corporates, it is often is misconstrued as arrogance, and lack of team spirit.
When we have to deal with a conversation based on a negative outcome, the message passed on to the receiver leads to disappointment. Be it saying ‘NO’ to your boss for his request to work extra, or to your peer for ‘helping’ unofficially to cover up for his personal work. They could be right at times or wrong, the other times, but when we are not able to accept their request, they take it negatively. Afraid of consequences, many times, we tend to accept their request and put ourselves in a tough situation.
Here is How you can be Assertive:
A) First understand the concern of the other person. If it is partially possible, explain to him how much you can complete his request and what cannot be done. However, assure them what else you probably can add to what you committed and how much. This gives them a sense of co-operation from your side. At the same time, suggest to them what they can do to successfully complete the task.
B) If you are not able to address another person’s concern, explain to them why you are not able to help them. If they are not able to understand you, leave for the time being, and explain whenever possible, preferably when the time is right.
C) Every discussion you have with others, irrespective of positive or negative outcomes, should be consistent with your assertive behavior. This helps understand you after a period of time and let them adapt to your behavior. If any hiccups arise intermittently, they can be overcome through consistency.
D) Assertiveness is reciprocal in nature. If the others are not able to help you, do not draw conclusions and avoid making negative comments.
E) Balance your assertive behavior through the right choice of words and body language. You cannot use very harsh words or show aggressive body language.
With these tips, you can dramatically change your behavior and make your life peaceful. Remember that you may not control all situations, but assertive behavior helps is proper communication. At least it helps you reduce stress and maintain peace with others in the long run.