Assertiveness is an important communication skill. Assertiveness helps you express yourself effectively and argue your point of view. It also helps us to respect the rights and beliefs of others.
Assertiveness also helps build self-esteem and gain the respect of others. This helps with stress management. It can essentially help relieve stress, especially if you tend to take on too much responsibility because you find it hard to say no.
Some people tend to be naturally assertive. But assertiveness is a skill you can learn. Assertiveness is something you can practice, and even you will be seen to be naturally assertive too.
Why Assertive Communication Makes Sense
Assertiveness is an effective and diplomatic style of communication because it is based on mutual respect. Being confident shows that you respect yourself because you are willing to defend your interests and express your thoughts and feelings. It also shows that you are aware of the rights of others and are willing to work to resolve conflicts.
Of course, it's not just what you say (your message) that matters, but how you say it.
Assertive communication is direct and respectful. Being assertive gives you the best chance of getting your message across.
Communication that is too passive or too aggressive can cause people to be too busy reacting to your delivery, and your message can get lost.
Assertive vs. Passive Behavior
If your style is passive or non-assertive, you may appear shy or overly easygoing. You may think or say: “I’ll go with whatever the group decides.”, tending to avoid conflict. Why is this a problem? Because the message you are sending is that your thoughts and feelings are not as important as those of others. Basically, if you are too passive, others will ignore your wants and needs.
Assertive vs. Aggressive Behavior
Now, look at the other side. If your style is aggressive, you may be seen as a bully who ignores the needs, feelings, and opinions of others. You can appear smug or superior. A highly aggressive person may embarrass, intimidate, frighten, or even physically threaten others.
You might think that being aggressive gives you what you want. However, it comes at a cost. Aggression weakens trust and mutual respect. Others may come to resent you, leading them to avoid or oppose you.
Assertive vs. Passive-Aggressive Behavior
Now consider passive-aggressive behavior. With passive-aggressive communication, you may say yes when you want to say no. You may be sarcastic and complain about others behind your back.
Instead of facing the problem directly, you can express your anger and emotions through your actions and negative attitudes. You may have a passive-aggressive style because you are not good and uncomfortable talking directly about your needs and feelings.
What are the disadvantages of the passive-aggressive communication style? Over time, passive-aggressive behavior can damage relationships and weaken mutual respect. This makes it difficult for you to meet goals and needs.
The Benefits of Being Assertive
Being assertive is usually considered a healthier communication style. Assertiveness has many benefits. It helps stop other people from taking advantage of you. It also helps you stop bullying other people.
Behaving assertively can help you:
Gain self-confidence and self-esteem
Gain a sense of empowerment
Understand and recognize your feelings
Earn respect from others
Create win-win situations
Improve your decision-making skills
Create honest relationships
Gain more job satisfaction