Think of an assertive individual and usually (bad) bosses come into mind. Naturally the words synonymous with assertive are negative, such as bossy, annoying, micromanaging etc. Some people I know even think of assertiveness as an euphemism for all these bad-sounding words. Well, I really hate to burst your bubble but that isn’t the case. Being assertive can be the best thing you can be right now. Here’s why.
Unpacking what Being ASSERTIVE really means
Imagine you are at your workplace, going through the routine that you have everyday. A new task slides across your desk asking you to get the numbers done up for the latest financial quarter. You think to yourself: “Hm, not a problem.”, until you realise that it actually isn’t your job to do up the numbers, but the person actually pushing it off to you. You duly reject the offer and get back to your other tasks.
Now think of another scenario but this time you are asking someone — a subordinate to do a job. You have in mind a set of criterias that need to be fulfilled and you won’t take no for an answer. Your boundaries are clear and you have voiced them.
The above two scenarios exemplify two things. The ability to say no, and the confidence to speak your mind. These two examples share a commonality — the people both know what they want. There is no perfect example of assertiveness and these examples only serve to show you what it can really mean.
Regardless, the notion that being assertive is bad should be rejected.
Why people actually hate ASSERTIVE individuals
Assertiveness is a trait that can come across to people as rude-sounding because it goes counter to their freedoms. Being able to say no to an individual limits their ability to control you, while being able to speak your mind comes across as straightforward. These traits are not bad at all. In fact, they are leadership qualities, and according to DISC matrices, tend to be individuals with a high D matrix.
High D individuals have a tendency to block out the noise and can sometimes be too straightforward and may sound condescending because of that. It is clear however, that it is not inherently bad to be an individual that possess a high D. Rather, the trouble comes in when there is a severe lack of communication and ignorance to those around you.
Like all influencing styles, assertiveness is an essential trait in any team, and can sometimes be the major propeller for success. Yet too much of something is not a good thing. People start to feel some sort of contempt and hate when it becomes too overbearing, and it is thus essential to find the right balance in these team-scenarios. This overbearingness can also apply to other events such as with your clients. Being too straightforward may work for some, but it will backfire against you against others.
What should I do if I think I’m ASSERTIVE
Firstly, you need to confirm in a way whether you are assertive or not. If your social circles have mentioned this to you before, then chances are it might be true. If you require a second-opinion, a fresh pair of eyes can do that for you. Have a sit-down with us if that is the case.
Once you have confirmed your speculation, it is time to start developing your influence to work with you rather than against you. The greatest advice I often tell others is to simply listen. Listening, despite not really doing anything, is the greatest rapport-builder because you are able to identify the behavioural styles of others and to work with it. It is also important to know that your straightforwardness might come off as overwhelming, so it is important to show some sort of respect to those around you.
Beyond it all, DON’T REGRET BEING ASSERTIVE! It is one of your greatest traits to be able to take control of yourself and to lend this control to your team. You are able to guide and tell others what is needed, and if that isn’t important, I don’t know what is.