Going For A Win-Win Result - A Guide To Being Assertive

"The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behavior affect the rights and well being of others"

Sharon Anthony Bower

It is interesting that many people still confuse being assertive with being aggressive. How about you? Have you learned the difference? Forgive me if you have, but for those of you who still aren't quite clear, here is a quick guide to assertiveness – going for the win-win result.

Assertiveness is a behavior or skill that helps you to communicate, clearly and with confidence, your feelings, needs, wants and thoughts, while acknowledging the needs of others. It means that you are able to state your opinions without feeling self-conscious, as well as being able to express your emotions openly. Being assertive will enable you to make clear to others how you wish to proceed in all aspects of your life. At the same time you will value others, respecting their right to an opinion as well. Through effective, assertive communication you will be able to express how you wish to move forward.

Is there an issue that needs to be resolved? Before confronting someone, why not write down what you are going to say? Be polite, concise and include the following elements: the nature of the problem; how it affects you; how you feel about it; what you want to change.

Be prepared to negotiate if necessary to bring resolution. By using tact and foresight and by making the effort to see the other point of view and acknowledging it you will place yourself in a position of strength. Be prepared to offer a compromise if that fits in with what you are aiming to achieve. Assertiveness does not mean digging your heels in for the sake of it!

Are you behaving passively? Do you think it is selfish to say what you want? Do you worry that if you refuse to do something, then people won't like you? Or do you think that other people should know what you want? Sorry. Most people are so wound up with their own thoughts and worries that they usually haven't time to be second-guessing you. By being clear and prepared to defend your own position if necessary, you will be able to build better relationships with those around you.

Feeling aggressive? Take it out in the gym, on a punch ball or on the running track, rather than at work or at home. Aggression is emotion out of control and can be very destructive. A physical activity can help you to diffuse the aggression.