Merriam-Webster Online defines assertiveness as being "disposed to or characterized by bold or confident statements and behavior." Many people confuse assertiveness with anger & aggression; but being assertive is simply an expression of confidence - be it in your self, your work, or your team. This learning path will help you pinpoint what assertiveness is - and isn't, recognize the importance of self-confidence in practicing assertiveness, and identify ways you can apply assertiveness to diffuse aggression, even passive-aggression (aka the worst).
To know how to be assertive, you first have to know exactly what being assertive is, and what it isn't. Assertiveness strikes a balance between aggressiveness and passivity - and as with any balance, all elements must be evenly distributed to find the sweet spot. Activities in this section introduce you to the basics of acting assertively, the benefits of assertiveness in action, and ways you can assert yourself while also building your confidence.
As we learned from Merriam-Webster, being confident is key to assertiveness. Acting assertively without confidence in your words or decisions will always backfire - and your confidence ends up taking another hit. Discover how to cultivate your confidence and ways to begin building and applying confidence.
Assertiveness is most easily confused for aggression or anger when your message, decisions, or actions are unclear or seem haphazard. Assertive communication requires honesty, courage, and insight to bring clarity, confidence, and consistency to your words and actions. Learn to develop an assertive and engaging style that expresses intention, without overpromising.
Being assertive means balancing on a tightrope between aggression and passivity - and that balance gets harder to maintain when others get involved. Practicing assertiveness means stepping up when you see others lose confidence or fail to express their frustrations in healthy, productive ways. Discover ways to approach passive-aggressive people, how to keep aggression under control, and assertiveness tactics to keep passive-aggressive people engaged and accountable.
Conflict is often a byproduct of a lack in clarity, communication, and confidence - so it should come as no surprise that assertiveness can often be the cause of or solution to conflict. When applied appropriately, assertiveness can be a powerful tool in conflict resolution. Learn more about your current approach to conflict, and ways to tailor your approach toward finding resolution.
Practice makes perfect! Use these exercises to hone your assertiveness and build your confidence.
Learn how to assert yourself, navigate tricky social situations and expand your personal power with sage guidance from social psychologist Adam Galinsky.