Can assertiveness training boost your self-confidence and career prospects? Assertiveness is a very important life skill which one must possess, to become successful in all walks of life – both personal and professional. Assertiveness is akin to self-confidence. It stems from good self esteem. It lies somewhere between submissiveness and aggression. Oxford Learners’ Dictionary defines assertiveness as “expressing opinions or desires strongly and with confidence, so that people take notice”.
This definition of assertiveness can be expanded as “expressing opinions confidently and clearly without ignoring others’ opinions or hurting the sentiments of/intimidating others”. Assertiveness is an integral part of one’s persona. It is a trait which has to be inculcated in one’s behaviour. While some people are born assertive, most people are not. Unfortunately, this does not form part of the curriculum in most schools. However, assertiveness can be acquired through training at any stage in life.Assertiveness training can pave the way for a more rewarding life by improving all aspects of one’s personal and professional life.
Assertiveness forms a vital element in a person’s communication with the external world. Assertive behaviour increases one’s self esteem and the worth of the person in the eyes of the others, as well. Assertiveness has a great influence on others and is infectious too. In other words, an assertive leader in turn creates an assertive team.
Assertiveness training helps in circumventing the social, cultural and economic factors which act as impediments to assertive behaviour. It helps one reflect assertiveness mainly in three aspects of one’s behaviour, viz., Verbal communication, Non-verbal communication and Attitude.
- For a verbal communication to be assertive, it has to be confident, has to have clarity and has to be controlled with the right amount of emphasis on the key issues. In such a communication, the speaker listens to the others’ view points, but, conveys his difference of opinion in an amicable and convincing manner without offending others. An assertive speaker does not allow others to overpower him, but ensures that a collaborative atmosphere is maintained. This ultimately results in a win-win situation.
- One can express assertiveness non-verbally through body language by maintaining eye contact, having clear and confident tone with proper modulation, a body posture which exudes positivity and openness, responding rather than reacting and through proper use of apt gestures.
- To be assertive in one’s overall attitude, one has to maintain composure in conflicting situations, voice one’s opinion or ideas confidently, say ‘no’ to something which is not acceptable, in a polite and firm manner, demand one’s rights with facts and figures, stand up for what one believes in, seek help from others, be a good listener and ask for feedback, admit one’s mistakes and seek apologies.
Most of the organisations are of the view that having an assertive team is crucial to the success of an organisation. Assertiveness trainings are being imparted to employees either through in-house or through external agencies. New Horizons Australia, is an organisation which imparts Professional Development training, which includes Assertiveness training too. They have learning centres in 6 locations in Australia, namely, Brisbane, Cairns, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. They impart online training too.
Though assertiveness as a desired skill may not find a place in the job descriptions, all the organisations desire to have this quality in their employees. An assertiveness training, in addition to adding value to one’s CV, makes one a better human being.