Workplace Bullying: How To Be Assertive In The Workplace
Are you a doormat or an aggressive bully? Have you found the middle ground?
There is a difference between being a doormat and being an aggressive bully, but many people find it difficult to find that balance, especially in the complex dynamics that exist in work relationships. We have all either witnessed, heard or read about workplace bullying, but how many of us know how to counter with assertive. We have all worked with someone at one point or another whose communication style is a bit harsh and who doesn’t know or respect the boundaries of their colleagues or employees. We also have met those people who are “yes” men or women; their communication does not convey confidence, and they find it hard to stand up for themselves.
People tend to relate to one another in three basic ways: aggressive, passive and assertive. Most people have an understanding of what aggressive and passive communications are, but they don’t fully understand assertiveness. Aggression is about dominance. An aggressive person imposes their will onto others, forcing them to submit. Aggressive people lack boundaries and they tend to communicate their aggression both verbally and non-verbally. Passivity, however, is about submission. Passive individuals submit to aggressive dominance, putting their own desires aside to fulfill the desires of the aggressive individual.
In contrast, assertiveness is about finding the middle ground between aggression and passivity that respects the boundaries of all involved. Assertive people defend themselves when someone attempts to dominate them, and typically only use aggression defensively.
Assertiveness training teaches people that assertiveness is not an unpleasant character trait, but rather the ability to stand up for one’s beliefs and make a positive contribution without being dominated by others. Many people refrain from speaking up in situations where their perspective would benefit the group because they are afraid others will see them as aggressive or difficult. Others sometimes worry that their coworkers will see them as weak or will not recognize the value their contributions.
How to become more assertive in the workplace?
- Identify the difference between assertive, aggressive and passive behavior by doing a self- assessment (you can find a variety of great assessments online)
- Understand the impact of different communication styles on workplace relationships
- Learn and use a variety of communication techniques to meet the needs of different personality types
- Set appropriate boundaries for your communication with others and their communication with you
- Manage your emotions when you are in confrontational situations, share just the facts (do not make accusations or judgments)
- Be mindful of your non-verbal communication
- Respect your needs and the needs of others
- Be open to dialogue, ask questions, and do not communicate in an effort to be right. But rather in an effort to be understood and to understand
- Work with others to agree on how to solve your problems/conflicts
To request information about Hureco Maverick’s HR Training offering, including Conflict Resolution and Assertiveness in the Workplace Training Workshops or any customized workplace training, call us today!