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Assertiveness skills

Simran K. Sanghera
Talent Development
Course objectives

Define assertiveness 2

Understand assertiveness 4

Learn assertiveness skills 19

Formula of an assertive message 29

Reap the benefits 36

1 Assertiveness skills Copyright © 2010 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.
Definition
What is assertiveness?

• Assertiveness is the ability to —


– Honestly express your opinions
– Feelings
– Attitudes and rights
– Without undue anxiety
– Doesn’t infringe on the rights of others

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Understanding assertiveness
Assertive philosophy- It’s about YOU

• It is Right to stand up for your Rights and every thing that is Right!!
– Right to
– Express your opinions/feelings/emotions
– Maintain your dignity
– Ask for equal treatment
– Safeguard your interests

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Assertive philosophy – It’s also about OTHERS

• Every one is entitled to dignity, respect and courtesy.

– Responsibility not to

• Ignore/crush others feelings and emotions

• Outrage dignity of others

• Display/practice prejudice

• Violate others rights

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Think about it…

• Suppressed feelings can build up and can be harmful to us and others


• Not letting others know how we feel is selfish and denies them a chance
to change, grow and have a relationship with us

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Statements examination

‘I need to see the Manager, Right now!’

‘I understand that you are busy, but I would like to see


the manager as soon as possible.’

‘Why don’t you ever take me out to dinner anymore?’

‘It’s been a long time since we went out for dinner


together’

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Communication styles
Aggressive —
• Protecting one’s own rights-at the
expense of others’ rights.
• The goal is to win at all costs
• The other person is hurt and humiliated

Assertive —
• Protecting one’s own rights -while
respecting the rights of others.
• The goal is to understand each other
and to arrive at a win-win situation.
• The other person feels respected.

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Communication style (cont.)
Passive aggressive —
• Sacrificing one’s own rights initially
followed by retaliation later.
• The goal is to avoid conflict for as long
as possible.
• Others feel guilty, hurt and frustrated
later.

Passive —
• Sacrificing one’s own rights at all times.
• Never speaking up for self.
• Needs professional counseling and
therapeutic intervention.

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Examples of aggressive communication

• “I don’t know why you can’t see that this is the right way to do it.”

• “It’s going to be my way or not at all.”

• “You’re just stupid if you think that will work.”

• “That kind of logic will sink the company.”

• “Who cares what you feel. We’re talking about making things work here.”

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Examples of passive aggressive communication

• “I love your hair. Most people probably can’t even tell it’s a wig.”

• “I’ll go with whatever the group decides.”

• “I don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me.”

• “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes... no!”

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Examples of assertive communication

• “So what you’re saying is...”

• “I can see that this is important to you, and it is also important to me.
Perhaps we can talk more respectfully and try to solve the problem.”

• “I think… I feel… I believe that…”

• “I would appreciate it if you…”

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Who is who???

• You have absolutely no sense of time! You’re


always late. Get Lost!!

• We were supposed to meet at 12:30, but now it’s


12:50. I have no time for window shopping now,
come let’s get started with lunch right away

• I knew you’ll be late, now I am accustomed to


waiting for you. Thank God it was only 20 minutes
this time

• “I hear what you’re saying, and I wouldn’t want to


make waves, so I’ll do what you say even though
someone will probably get sued.”

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Exercise

• Describe an example of situation in which you wish you had


asserted yourself

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Which is the best style?

• All styles have their proper place and use

– Assertive communication is the healthiest

– Boundaries of all parties are respected

– Easier to problem-solve Assertive style


requires skills
– Fewer emotional outbursts and a philosophy
change, as well
as lots of practice
and hard work

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Understanding assertiveness-Recap

Passive aggressive
3 patterns of
Interpersonal Aggressive
Behavior
Assertive

Passive aggressive Aggressive Assertive


• Allow others to choose for you • Choose for others • Choose for self
• Emotionally dishonest • Inappropriately honest • Appropriately honest
Characteristics • Direct, self-expressive • Direct, self-respecting/
expressing, straight-forward

• You lose • Win-lose situation • Convert win-lose to win-win


Win-lose situation
• That you win
• Anxious, ignored, helpless, • Righteous, superior, • Confident, self-respecting,
Your own feelings manipulated controlling goal-oriented, valued
on the exchange • Later: angry at yourself, • Later: possibly guilty • Later: accomplished
and/or others

Others’ feelings • Guilty or superior • Humiliated, defensive, • Valued, respected


in the exchange • Frustrated with you resentful, hurt

• Others achieve their goals • You achieve your goal • Outcome determined by
Outcome at your expense at others’ expense above-board negotiation
• Your rights are violated • Your rights upheld, • Your and others’ rights
others’ are violated respected

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Learn assertiveness skills
I — “I” messages

• Why “I”??
– Focus is more on Your feelings and Needs

– Shows more ownership of Your reactions

– Conveys less blame to the other person


• “But I feel/need…
• “I understand/know/can see...”
• “So I would like/prefer/suggest...”

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II — Objectivity

• Identify the object to be focused on

• Focus on the problem, not on the


emotions

• Postpone discussion if emotions


cannot be contained

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III — Persistence

• Stay focused on the issue

— Do not get distracted,


defensive, or start justifying
yourself

• Paraphrase if required

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IV — Acknowledgement

• Acknowledge their feelings/


opinions/interests, but try to move
beyond it to a discussion about
the problem

• Don’t pass a judgment — You do


not necessarily have to disagree
or agree

– “I can see that this upsets you, and


from your perspective, I can see
why. Now, what can we do to make
this better for both of us?”

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V — Ownership

• Own your flaws/mistakes —if it is


true.

– “That is entirely possible, knowing


me…”

• Accept someone’s criticism as


feedback rather than an attack.

– “You could be right about that...”

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VI — Challenge false information

• Challenge when attacked with false


information -do not fall prey to
defensiveness

• The evidence — Look for the grain


of truth and validate it.

– “Actually, I was at work, so that could


not have been me.”

– “I’m sorry, I simply do not see it that


way, but you are more than entitled to
your opinion.”

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VII — Sincere approach

• Pump the negatives out —

When criticized, ask for more


negative feedback;

to learn more about how to be


better in that area

– E.g., “I am really concerned, tell me


more about what is bothering you
about my report.”

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VIII — Assertive body language

• Maintain direct eye contact

• Maintain erect posture

• Speak clearly and audibly

• Do not Whine!!!!

• Use facial expressions and gestures to add


emphasis to words

• Watch the non-verbal communication

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Essential elements-Summary

I. “I” Messages
II. Objectivity
III. Persistence
IV. Acknowledgement
V. Ownership (of flaws/mistakes)
VI. Challenge (to false information)
VII. Sincere approach (to build)
VIII. Assertive body language

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Formula of an
assertive message
Three (3) line assertion message

• Understand and summarize

• Indicate your feelings/opinions

• State your requirements/reasons

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Example

• “When you…” (state facts)

• “I feel uncomfortable…” (state feelings)

• “I would like…(state requirements)

• In this way we will be able to work together more productively


because...” (benefits to the other party)

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What is “Okay” in Assertive Behavior

• It is okay to say “I don’t know.”


• It is okay to say “No,” or “I cannot do that.
• It is okay to make mistakes as long as responsibility is taken for them
• It is okay to disagree and to verbalize that
• It is okay to challenge others’ opinions or actions
• It is okay to not accept another’s opinion as factual or accurate (e.g.,
getting criticized)
• It is okay to ask for a change in behavior

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When NOT to be assertive

• When the other person is overly sensitive


• When the issue is trivial
• When losses outweigh the benefits of asserting yourself
• In emergency, when there is no time to reason
• While making un-popular decisions
• When you are wrong!!

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Advice

• Start
• Start small
• Role play with friends
• Start with strangers
• Ask yourself
– How can I express my message more specifically and clearly?
– Am I likely to have to repeat my message?
– Will I feel comfortable doing this?
– What body language will I use to back up my message?

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Practice Practice Practice!!!

Role Play

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Reap the benefits
Assertiveness DISCLAIMER!

• Does not just happen

• Does not guarantee you happiness or


fair treatment

• Will not solve all your problems

• Does not guarantee you will get what


you want

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SO …How will you benefit?

• Enhanced self-esteem
• Strong, sound and long lasting relationships
• Professional growth and respect
• Superior negotiation skills
• Better conflict management
• Better anger management

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Happy asserting
About Deloitte
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Copyright © 2010 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.


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