Methods for Developing Assertiveness and Self-confidence

Improving assertiveness and self-confidence can help you to take more control of situations in your life. These methods for developing assertiveness and self-confidence can help you stand up for yourself when you need to show strength. Most people tend to be passive by nature and only require the power to be assertive in uncomfortable situations. This is usually when they feel as though someone is acting aggressive or being excessively dominant towards them.

Methods for Developing Assertiveness and Self-confidence

Becoming assertive is not transforming into a dominant person for the sake of being dominant. Developing assertiveness is a tool which will help you to take control over personal and workplace confrontation.

Dealing with dominant people:

To develop assertive behaviour, it is helpful to know the difference between those who are aggressively dominant and those who are asserting their own rights. Dominant co workers or dominant managers offer the biggest problem to non-assertive people.

A dominant management style is an unhealthy way to organise a team. Dominant leaders often get work completed for short term results. This usually benefits only the dominant person and fails to make use of the skills and potential of others in the organisation.

A good leadership style is inclusive and offers room for development. Dominance on non assertive people is the equivalent of being a bully. Like bullies, dominant people are often insecure. This insecurity often means that they are unable to allow others to assert responsibility or become influential.

By remaining non-assertive before the actions of the dominant person, they usually get their own way. This inaction against their behaviour reinforces their actions and they persist in this way.

One technique to dealing with dominant people is to realise that their dominant tendencies are a result of insecurity. Rather than feeling intimidated or fearful of a dominant person, you can instead, feel sympathetic to them.

Remember that being non-assertive is a quality of strength and not weakness. Being assertive is an unpopular approach in most situations and will only provide small personal gains to the dominant person.

Learning to be assertive includes learning when it is appropriate. You should also understand that being assertive all the time is also not a desired trait.


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Improving assertiveness and self-confidence

Developing more assertive behaviour means that you should recognise the difference between being assertive and being aggressive. If you are concerned that decisions are being made in favour of other people while your rights are being ignored, yo may need to become more assertive. If you are pushing your opinions forward and ignoring others, then you may be being too aggressive.

Assertive behaviour:

You can become more assertive if your requests are considerate of others. Being assertive is declaring that you are equally important in a group decision and should not be overlooked. Assertive behaviour is encouraging people to recognise your rights while not pushing aside the rights and needs of others.

Aggressive behaviour:

Being aggressive is the act of winning against someone else who loses. Aggressive behaviour pushes your own agenda forward whist ignoring the needs, wants and rights of others.

If you are naturally passive or aggressive, you will need to develop your behaviour to become more assertive. Assertive behaviour will help you to:

  • Value your rights
  • Ask for your needs and wants to be satisfied
  • Don’t take responsibility for other people’s behaviour
  • Communicate negative thoughts effectively
  • Take on board criticism as well as compliments
  • Learn to say no

1.Value your rights

Becoming assertive begins by recognising that your feelings and needs are just as important as any one else’s. You need to recognise when your rights are being undermined and speak up to protect them.

Although it is important to stand up for your rights, you need to remember that your rights are no more important than anyone else’s. You need to be aware of the feelings and desires of others.

Everybody should be treated with respect at all times including yourself.

2. Ask for your needs and wants to be satisfied

You cannot expect other people to recognise what your needs and desires are. Only by having your needs met, can you perform to your best ability. So this is an advantage to you as well as the organisation.

By voicing your needs, you should be aware of how to get what you want without sacrificing the needs of others.

3. Don’t take responsibility for other people’s behaviour

Don’t apologise for anything that is not your responsibility.

Remember that everyone is responsible for their own behaviour. People may not respond positively to your assertive behaviour but that is for them to learn to control.

You are within your rights to have your say or do what you want as long as it is not violating anyone elseís rights.

4. Communicate negative thoughts effectively

You will need to stand up for yourself if your rights are being challenged. You should find ways to communicate what you think in a way that does not hurt the feelings of anyone else.

Situations may make you become angry but you can learn to control your emotions. Let people know how you feel in a respectful way.

5.Take on board criticism as well as compliments

It is important that you are able to receive feedback with a positive outlook. You may not agree with the comments and you can say so, but try not to get angry or defensive.

Feel that you are able to make mistakes and learn from them. You should also not be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

Be gracious when accepting compliments as well as respectful when receiving criticism.

6. Learn to say no

You will never be able to please everyone so learn that this is acceptable. Once you understand your limits, you can decide when you are taking on too much.

If you are feeling as though too much is expected of you, say no when you are unable to take any more. Suggest an alternative action where both you and the person requesting your time or work can benefit.


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Assertive Communication

Do you feel as though you need to improve your ability to be assertive? You can become more confident in making your voice heard by following these techniques for assertive communication.

1. Use I statements

Make it clear that it is you who is making the suggestion. Own your opinions and make other people listen to your views.

“I feel…” “I want…” “I need…”

2. Show empathy

By openly recognising the point of view of the other person, you can make a stronger case for getting your point across.

“I understand the problem that you are having…”
“…But I do need to get the results of the work completed by…”

3. Escalate importance

If the first attempt of getting what you asked for does not work, you will need to escalate firmness in the request. After repeated requests, you can begin to suggest what you will do next if the request continues to be ignored.

“..I have made this request several times… If I do not see a result, I will need to begin disciplinary procedures…”

4. Delay your response

There may be times where you need extra time to compose your response to a situation. You may be feeling emotional of need more time to think about your position. Feel free to request that you give the answer at some time in the near future.

“..I haven’t had time to consider the proposal fully at this time… Please come back in an hour and I can give you an answer…”

4. Use of the Verb

Changing the verbs that you use in your conversation can change the emphasis from dealing with a situation to deciding what you want to do about it.

“..I won’t…” to replace “..I can’t…”
“..I want…” to replace “..I need…”
“..I choose to…” to replace “..I have to…”
“..I could…” to replace “..I should’…”

5. the broken record technique

Once you decide upon a position that you want to communicate, make sure that it is heard. Too often, people begin with a statement and then allow others to talk them out of it. By restating your message, it will make it obvious that you are not prepared to change your position.

“..could you please…”
“..I do not have any more time this week to complete any more work…”
“..but this is very important…”
“..I do not have any more time this week to complete any more work…”
“..you will get paid extra…”
“..I do not have any more time this week to complete any more work…”

6. Scripting your response

Knowing what you are going to say beforehand can help you to assert your position. You should have prepared four responses to a situation and use them to make your statement understood.

Statement one: Describe the event. Let the person know how you view the situation.

Statement two: Tell the person how you feel about the situation. Make your emotions clear on how it has affected you.

Statement three: Let the other person know exactly what you need for them to do.

Statement four: Show that if the task is complete as you want it, then there will be a positive outcome.

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